Tom DeLay loves abused and neglected kids. Yeah, sure he does.
By Lee Russ
Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 05:50 PM
Our now-deposed House whip, Mr. Tom DeLay has always made much of his Christianity and specifically of his concern for kids who are neglected, abused, destitute. In fact, his official web site front page has a link titled "All About the Kids" which takes you to a separate page detailing DeLay's love for and activities on behalf of "kids."
So if this concern for children is sincere, he must vote in their interests, right? Consistently. Must strenuously resist legislation that would hurt not just children, but specifically hurt the ones most at risk. Right?
Let's take a look at Mr. DeLay's public persona, and his position on the recently passed House budget reconciliation bill.
Getting Things Done for Children
Congressman DeLay's Legislative Accomplishments
"Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) has made a personal and professional commitment to reclaim the thousands of abused and neglected children who have been surrendered to the government's custody. He believes that a national commitment to maltreated children means that communities, businesses, churches, schools and charities reclaim these children by making personal and financial investments to improve their lives.
"Congressman DeLay has fought to bring legislative action and federal funds to programs that are aimed at preventing child maltreatment and shortening the stays in foster care. After the death of a toddler, Brianna Blackmond, Congressman DeLay called for a full investigation of the District of Columbia's child protection system and the court system in particular.
"As a result of the findings of that investigation he sponsored the District of Columbia Family Court Act (H.R. 2657) designed to make the interests of abused and neglected children the paramount concern of the court. The bill required that judges be trained, volunteer to handle abuse and neglect cases, organize their calendars so that one judge sees one child, and sit on the bench for at least five years. The bill passed the House of Representatives 418-1 and was signed into law.
"Congressman DeLay supported several important pieces of legislation aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable children including: the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act; the reauthorization of the Safe and Stable Families Act; and, the reauthorization of the welfare reform law. He is particularly concerned about the 25,000 children who turn eighteen and leave the foster care system each year. Representative DeLay supports the President's increase of $60 million to states to provide training vouchers for children leaving the system.
"Prevention of abuse and neglect is a key issue for DeLay. His leadership has secured increased funding to the Centers for Disease Control to provide for primary policy related research into the causes and prevention of child maltreatment."
That's pretty good stuff. I could vote for and support a guy like that.
So did he support the House budget bill? Sure did, according to Project Vote Smart.
Maybe the bill was simply compatible with Mr. DeLay's concern for kids? Well, the SF Chronicle said "the vote was so politically sensitive that House leaders didn't begin debate until 10 p.m. Thursday and didn't pass the measure until nearly 2 a.m. -- when most news reporters gone and only a few C-SPAN junkies could witness the fiery floor action."
And of course there's a reason that all Democrats voted against, as did 14 Republicans after all the convincing (bribing) and cajoling (threatening) that occurred as the Republican leadership, including DeLay, kept the vote open well into the night until they had just enough Republican votes to pass the bill by 2 votes:
--It would slash funding for child support enforcement by $4.9 billion (the Senate version does not). Source
--It eliminates federally funded foster care benefits for grandparents and relatives of abused and neglected children. Source
--It cuts child care assistance in a way that would cause 330,000 children in low-income working families to lose child care assistance by 2010. Source
--It cuts student loan programs by $14.3 billion. Source
If you think the foster care cuts are inconsequential, you might want to read through a piece from the Center for Law and Social Policy titled House Cuts to Foster Care Funding would Jeopardize Children
Living with Grandparents and Other Relatives
Well, okay, if he voted for it, and it's bad for the very kids he claims to love, there must be a good reason, right? Don't let me put words in his mouth, let Mr. DeLay explain his support for the House budget bill, from an 11-17-05 news item on his web site titled "Majority Sets Blueprint for Government Restraint" (boldfacing mine):
Congressman Tom DeLay (R-Sugar Land) today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005:
"The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 affirms the Republican principles of government aimed at restraining spending, reforming overgrown government programs, and redesigning the way we spend the taxpayers' money.
"The reforms and discipline written into this bill will not only save the American people money next year, but they will begin a long-overdue process of modernizing the federal government.
"Today's action helps us set priorities and permanently redesign our government based on the traditional principles of accountability, efficiency, and competence.
"Unfortunately, House Democrats, yielded to an out-of-touch leadership and squandered another opportunity to address issues of critical importance to the American taxpayer. Consumed by opposition and at ease with abusive government spending, Democrats have refused to put partisanship aside, remaining disturbingly confident that Washington bureaucrats are more qualified to spend taxpayer dollars than the American taxpayer himself.
"The path to a reformed, redesigned federal government is a long one, but it's a journey that begins with this modest first step."
So there you have it. Removing funding from numerous federal programs that specifically help needy, abused, and neglected children is not just "okay" with Tom "the hammer" DeLay, but removing funding "affirms the Republican principles of government" and is "part of a permanent redesign" of our government.
Tough love from a tough man who, thank God, finds himself in a tough legal spot. I have as much sympathy for him as he does for the kids whose lives he hurt with his ideological insistence on cutting their programs while offering up yet more tax cuts for those who already have plenty of money. Not to mention plenty of influence with Mr. DeLay.