This Post Is Only For Californians-- Unless You Also Live In A State That Gets Wildfires
It's wildfire weather in L.A.-- temperatures in the 90s and very dry. There are plenty of reasons to be angry about the irresponsibility of Members of Congress who voted for the Sequester-- and inconvenience at airports is the least of them. The possibility of losing homes and lives to wildfires is far more serious. Monday Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who's in charge of the U.S. Forest Service, and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell were in Idaho were in Idaho explaining that Congress' Sequester had tied their hands in terms of using prescribed burns for fire prevention and that 500 fewer firefighters and 50 fewer engines will be available to fight fires in the dry West this summer.
Idaho has two congressmembers, both Republicans. Mike Simpson is a GOP Establishment shill and a lockstep ally of Boehner's. He voted for the Sequester. Raul Labrador is a bit of a rebel with a libertarian streak and he was one of the 66 Republicans who joined with 95 Democrats to oppose Boehner's sequester bill on August 1, 2011. Tuesday, the editors of the Great Falls Tribune in their state sent them a message: voters are watching:
Cutting federal dollars for firefighting would seem to be foolish on its face.Last year, wildfires burned 9.3 million acres of land and destroyed more than 4,400 structures. It was one of the worst wildfire years in since most Americans were born. This year could easily be worse. A bad year for Congress' meat ax approach to ideologically-inspred budget cuts. And it isn't just Idaho that is worried, of course. New Mexico and Oregon were both hit very hard last year. Much of Texas, whose Republican-dominated congressional delegation is Austerity-mad, has been a tinderbox. Washington is another state under severe threat-- and so is Florida, another state where senior Republican congressmembers like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, John Mica, Bill Young, Vern Buchanan, Tom Rooney, Mario Diaz-Balart, Anders Crenshaw, Jeff Miller, Richard Nugent and Gus Bilirakis helped push the Boehner-Cantor-Ryan wing of the party's pro-Sequester position.
Unless Congress wants to see the West go up in flames this fire season, federal dollars for fighting fires should be restored to last year’s levels.
It’s an easy thing to suggest whacking the heck out of the federal budget. But it’s not such an easy thing to find federal programs that don’t affect people in small or large ways. Even chemotherapy to cancer patients has been delayed by cuts.
But no state is in greater jeopardy than California from the $115 million cuts to the federal wildland fire program budget. Fires have already begun and the outlook is grim. The games they play back in Washington are grim too and Members of Congress-- regardless of party-- who voted for the sequester should be held accountable. My own congressman, New Dem Adam Schiff, voted for the sequester. I won't be voting for him in 2014. This is the list of California congressmembers still in Congress who voted for the Sequester:
The California members with the good sense to vote against Sequester: Xavier Becerra (D), Judy Chu (D), Janice Hahn (D), Mike Honda (D), Duncan Hunter (R), Barbara Lee (D), Zoe Lofgren (D), Tom McClintock (R), George Miller (D), Grace Napolitano (D), Devin Nunes (R), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D), Linda Sánchez (D), and Maxine Waters (D).• Karen Bass (D)
• Howard Berman (D)
• Ken Calvert (R)
• John Campbell (R)
• Lois Capps (D)
• Jim Costa (Blue Dog)
• Susan Davis (New Dem)
• Jeff Denham (R)
• Anna Eshoo (D)
• John Garamendi (D)
• Darrell Issa (R)
• Kevin McCarthy (R)
• Buck McKeon (R)
• Gary Miller (R)
• Nancy Pelosi (D)
• Dana Rohrabacher (R)
• Ed Royce (R)
• Loretta Sanchez (Blue Dog; her sister, Linda Sanchez, had the sense to vote NO)
• Adam Schiff (New Dem)
• Brad Sherman (D)
• Jackie Speier (D)
• Mike Thompson Blue Dog)
On election day, few people just vote on a single issue. If your house burns down this summer and there are no firefighters there to help, you might want to at least take this one into consideration.