WASHINGTON, DC (February 18, 2011) - Despite this being a Friday, the diligent staff in the office of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) -- aided by the Congresswoman herself -- examined the gist of hundreds of amendments being offered by Republicans to their bill, H.R. 1, the Continuing Resolution to fund the government for the next seven months.
After much debate, Rep. Schakowsky's office selected the Top 10 amendments that might otherwise be overlooked for the "So Be It" Award. (Don't think we didn't protest the votes to defund the Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood and other biggies). Some of the winning amendments are doggone mean (So be it!), others are pretty dumb (So be it!), a few might be called dangerous (So be it!), and plenty are just plain goofy (So be it!). We offer them up for you to judge whether or not they are worthy of note, ridicule, or an end-of-a-long-week chuckle.
We also designated the winner of a special award: The Fred Flintstone Car and Candlelight Award.
1) Let's begin with two aimed squarely at making the First Family's lives a living hell. Plumbing issue at the White House? Sorry, you're plunging it yourself, Mr. President.
Amendment Nos. 150 / 151 -- Rep. Neugebauer (R-TX): The amendment would prohibit funds made available in this Act from being used for repair, alteration, or improvement of the Executive Residence at the White House and the Executive Office of the President.
2) Brilliant idea. Have the United Nations relocate in Tehran instead.
Amendment No. 8 -- Rep. Stearns (R-FL): The amendment would restrict funds made available in this Act from being used for the design, renovation, construction, or rental of any headquarters for the United Nations in any location in the United States.
3) Arts? Seriously? Forget the stately portrait when you're chairman of the committee.
Amendment No. 34 -- Rep. Garret (R-NJ): The amendment reduces funding for the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Grants and Administration by $145 million eliminating funding for the account.
4) SARS anyone? How soon they forget.
Amendment No. 271 -- Rep. King (R-IA): The amendment would reduce funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disease Control, Research, and Training by $750,000,000. (Amendment Nos. 550 / 551 -- Rep. King (R-IA) do the same.)
5) 100% of women and 100% of men (in our office) think this amendment addresses one of the world's most important skills -- not to be shortchanged.
Amendment No. 420 -- Rep. Issa (R-CA): The amendment would prohibit the funds made available by this Act from being used by the Department of Health and Human Services to study condom use skills in adult males.
6) Wheelchairs? Really?
Amendment No. 405 -- Rep. Thompson (R-PA): The amendment would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide that payments made for standard power wheelchairs furnished in 2011 are subject to a 1 percent reduction in the covered item update made under the Social Security Act.
7) Is there a reason that Darryl Issa may have a special gripe with "Granny Theft Auto"? (Get it?)
Amendment No. 422 -- Rep. Issa (R-CA): The amendment would prohibit the funds made available by this Act from being used by the National Science Foundation to study whether video games improve mental health for the elderly.
8) Why is he picking on wild blueberry pickers? Investigate!
Amendment No. 346 -- Rep. Pearce (R-NM): The amendment would prohibit any funds made available under the Act to be used to provide trade adjustment assistance to wild blueberry producers.
9) Say what?... must have something to do with ridding the Capitol of Purell® hand gel?
Amendment No. 483 -- Rep. Fortenberry (R-NE): The amendment would prohibit funds made available by this Act to be used for or in sterilization campaigns.
10) But how will we erect a monument to Ronald Reagan?
Amendment No. 92 -- Rep. Heller (R-NV): The amendment would prohibit any funds made available in this Act from being used to designate monuments under the "Antiquities Act of 1906" (16 U.S.C. 431, et seq.). (Amendment No. 203 -- Rep. Labrador (R-ID) does the same thing.)
And a special mention goes to Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA): The Flintstone Car and Candlelight Award for his series of amendments to prohibit funding for an expansive list of energy innovations and clean technologies, including Water Power (Amendment No. 318), Wind Energy (Amendment No. 320), Vehicle Technologies (Amendment No. 316), Solar Energy (Amendment No. 314), Industrial Technologies (Amendment No. 312), Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies (Amendment No. 309), Geothermal (Amendment No. 307), Building Technologies (Amendment No. 302) and Biomass and Biorefining Systems (Amendment No. 300).
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