The Senate is off today, but House members are on the Hill. I’m sure they’re just elated to be stuck there on a Friday, especially since the important legislative business of the day is . . . harmful algal blooms.
Yes, today’s debate is on the “Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009.” In other words, it is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s way of keeping her fragile caucus around so she can hammer out health-care deals off the floor.
Rep. David Dreier (R., Calif.), the House Rules Committee’s ranking Republican, delivered a floor statement today that alluded to the algal inanity:
“Our national unemployment rate stands at 9.7%. It has hovered at, above or near 10% for seven months. Our economy has tentatively begun to emerge from the crisis, with the threat of another downturn remaining very real. Millions of Americans have lost their homes, and many more continue to face either the threat of foreclosure or years of upside-down mortgages. Our deficit is $1.4 trillion and our national debt has exceeded $12 trillion. Credit remains scarce for the working families and small business owners who depend on a robust financial services system. We have serious issues as a nation that the American people expect us to deal with aggressively and responsibly.
“So what pressing issue are we addressing today on the floor of the House of Representatives? H.R. 3650, the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009. Of course, the motivation behind today’s legislative action couldn’t be more transparent. No one believes for a second that with all the enormous challenges we should be addressing today, algae is at the top of the list.
“We are here today for one reason, and one reason only: the Democratic Leadership does not have the votes to pass their highly unpopular healthcare bill. They are scrambling to twist arms, bend the rules of the House, jump through any possible hoop to somehow cobble together the votes for their government takeover of healthcare. They needed to buy more time, so they are buying it with algae.”