- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2009

Abstinence funding

Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee made out well Tuesday, twice leading the panel to reject adding a public insurance option to health care legislation and also approving $50 million for abstinence-only education funding.

Liberal Democrats oppose abstinence-only funding, arguing that schoolchildren should be given broader education about contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases as well. But a measure, sponsored by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, to limit funding to abstinence-only education passed the committee 12-11.

Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, both Democrats, crossed party lines to support the amendment.

If signed into law, it would effectively undo a portion of President Obama’s proposed budget that requested the money be directed toward sex-education efforts that were not considered “abstinence-only.”

But that doesn’t mean the Hatch amendment will be signed into law.

A competing measure, sponsored by committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, to make $75 million available for sex-education that could include information about contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases passed 14-9. It will be up to the Senate to decide which measure is adopted later.

Mr. Hatch said he would continue to fight for his version.

“I am greatly pleased with last night’s vote and will fight to have the same outcome once this amendment makes it to the Senate floor,” he said.

Accountability

While the Senate Finance Committee was voting down the public health insurance option, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee was busy at work.

PCCC co-founder Adam Green on Wednesday sent an e-mail with the headline: “Holy cow.”

Inside was a link to his Web site saying PCCC raised more than $200,000 in the hours after the vote to air ads in Maine and Montana targeting Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, who is considered a swing vote on the issue.

PCCC also cited a Research 2000 poll that found the majority of voters in those senators, home states support the public option.

Mr. Green calls the dollar drive “accountability fundraising” because PCCC thinks its ads will help “hold them accountable to their constituents back home.”

Boxer’s record

If Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, is successful in passing her bill to reduce carbon emissions, commonly called cap and trade, it would only be the fourth bill she’s championed that’s signed into law during her three terms as a U.S. senator.

When Mrs. Boxer, joined by former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, brought their 821-page Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act to the floor Wednesday, critics noted that only three of the nearly 400 bills she has sponsored have ever been passed.

Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in an e-mail that Mrs. Boxer’s record could be summed up in three words: “Ineffective, polarizing and partisan.”

Of course, it would be nearly impossible for a senator to get all of his or her bills passed. There are other senators who have been in office just as long, or longer, who have passed fewer pieces of legislation.

Boxer spokesman Zachary Coile emphasized that several times the senator has worked with Republicans.

“Sen. Boxer is a proven leader who has worked across party lines to get things done for people in California and across the country,” he said. “She worked with Sen. [John] Ensign to pass landmark legislation authorizing funding for after-school programs. She worked with Sen. [James M.] Inhofe to pass a major water infrastructure bill that had been stalled for seven years. She joined with former Sen. Gordon Smith to authorize funding for international tuberculosis programs. She worked with Sen. [Jim] Bunning and former Sen. Bob Smith to pass measures allowing pilots to carry guns in the cockpit. She worked with former Sen. Rick Santorum to strengthen sanctions against Syria. And she has worked with House Republicans in her home state on legislation protecting more than 1 million acres of California wilderness.”

But those following California’s 2010 Senate race can expect to hear this statistic again.

Mr. Walsh, looking ahead to that cycle, also said, “While her colleague Sen. [Dianne] Feinstein has had four times as many bills signed into law, Boxer has been content berating decorated generals and serving as the darling for the radical left. When you consider the many serious issues facing California right now, including the current fiscal crisis, you can bet Boxer’s ineffective and partisan record will be a central issue in her re-election bid next year.”

A best-seller

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s forthcoming memoir “Going Rogue: An American Life” is already a hit.

Barnes & Noble has the memoir listed as its No. 1 seller online, even though the book won’t be available until Nov. 17.

It’s also popular on Amazon.com, where it is rated as the No. 2 most popular book, behind Dan Brown’s latest novel, “The Lost Symbol,” and beating Glenn Beck’s “Arguing with Idiots,” which is rated the third most popular by the online retailer.

Mrs. Palin, a Republican who was Sen. John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election, stepped down as governor in July.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com.


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