imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Congress' fluffy measures keep constituents happy

by Billy House Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006 at 7:50 AM

Isn't unneeded, unnessary government great at wasting our money to get people re-elected?

WASHINGTON - Did Congress this year really need to recognize the history and achievements of the curling community of Bemidji, Minn.?

Was the 30th anniversary of the victory of California winemakers at the 1976 Paris Wine Testing deserving of special U.S. House and Senate attention?

And how essential was it for federal lawmakers to pay homage to the role of air-conditioning in modern American life by declaring a special "National Indoor Comfort Week"?

These are just a few examples of lawmakers doing one of the things they do best: proposing and passing hundreds of feel-good resolutions and other non-binding commemorative measures.

"If you think about the amount of time Congress spends on these resolutions, as opposed to substantive legislation, it's clear why so little gets done in Washington," said Alex Knott, political editor of the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based good-government group.

Congressional records show there have been at least 600 of these commemorative resolutions passed or proposed so far this session.

Such measures allow lawmakers not only to share with their constituents in the glee of a local team winning a championship, but also in the sorrow over the death of a home-grown celebrity such as Johnny Carson or a civil rights icon such as Rosa Parks.

In some cases, the measures are pushed by the same special-interest groups who also donate money to the sponsoring lawmakers' campaigns. Typically, the House and Senate approve such measures by unanimous consent, meaning there is no debate. But for the sponsoring senator or congressman, these resolutions go a long way back home.

"If people really want to understand why congressional incumbents are so difficult to beat," said Ross Baker, a Rutgers University political-science professor and an expert on Congress, "this is one of the reasons.

"It's their ability to use these non-binding resolutions and commemorations to ingratiate themselves with groups, usually constituents in their states."

Justifying the resolutions

Rep. Mike Thompson, R-Calif., needed no prodding in May when he introduced a resolution to recognize the anniversary of the victory of United States winemakers at the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, which had pitted the premier wines of California and France in a blind tasting competition. His resolution (HCR 399) was passed.

Anne Warden, a spokeswoman in Thompson's office, explained that the congressman believed the measure was important for his constituents and state because it had marked a "watershed for California wines," heralding their prominence and marketability. She also noted that Thompson owns a small vineyard and is co-chairman of the congressional wine caucus.

Thompson's resolution may indeed have been self-inspired. But his congressional efforts overall on behalf of the California wine industry have not gone unrecognized. Federal Election Commission records show he's tops among all lawmakers in the amount of donations (,000) his re-election campaign coffers have received this session from the political arm of the Wine Institute, an association of California wineries.

"National Indoor Comfort Week" was designated by Congress for April 17-23 last year after a resolution (HR 130) was introduced on March 1, 2005, and then passed the next month in the House by Rep. Donald Manzullo, R-Ill., chairman of the House Small Business Committee.

The idea came out of a meeting between Manzullo staffers and representatives of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America.

The same month the resolution was introduced, the group's political-action committee gave ,500 to Manzullo's re-election coffers, according to FEC records. But Manzullo spokesman Rich Carter said there was no connection and pointed out that the same group had donated to the congressman's campaign committee before, and has since.

A spokesman for the association also said there was no tie-in.

Easy pleasers

Other resolutions are simply can't-go-wrong crowd pleasers back at home.

For instance, Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., joined with Senate co-sponsor Mark Dayton, D-Minn., in introducing and getting passed on March 9 a resolution (SR 397) recognizing the sport of curling, a tradition that has been fostered over generations by the community of Bemidji, Minn. The city that month hosted the U.S. World Team Trials.

Copies of the official congressional resolution were sent to Bemidji and the Bemidji Curling Club.

Some of the resolutions do touch on more-serious topics.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has a long scar on the left side of his face as a reminder of his battles with melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer, passed a resolution in June 2005 (SR 167) recognizing the importance of sun safety. A group calling itself the "Sun Safety Alliance," which includes the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and Coppertone, had pushed for that measure.

The cost to taxpayers of all these measures is hard to estimate.

A former aide to Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who had been researching that question three years ago, obtained from the Congressional Research Service a memo stating: "It is difficult, if not impossible, to accurately calculate the cost of introducing or passing a piece of legislation, because it is so difficult to quantify staff time, utility costs, Capitol security costs, costs of printing floor discussions about the bill in the (Congressional) Record, and the costs of putting the individual piece of legislation on the Internet."

One CRS document included an estimate that the 1990 costs of commemorative legislation were as high as million a year. But the research service told Franks' office that those 1990 numbers "can't really be compared to today."

Knott, of the Center for Public Integrity, recalled that starting in 1995, the House had changed its rules to ban new commemorative proposals.

But they've continued to occur as lawmakers push them through procedural maneuvers, including the ability to suspend their own rules on almost anything.

"A lot of it is just filler to say they are doing something when they aren't addressing more important things like immigration reform or health care," said David Mark, a political analyst and former editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine.

Reach the reporter at or 1-(202)-906-8136.

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy