POLITICS
02/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

McCain Kicks Off Senate Session With Strange Legislative Initiatives

Remember how last year, this dude named John McCain was running for President or something? If you recall, the man had a lot of solid ideas about the big accomplishments he'd bring to America if he was elected. In one of his early campaign videos, McCain made the following guarantees: "The Middle East: STABILIZED. Nuclear terror threat: REDUCED. Border security: STRENGTHENED. Energy independence: ADVANCED. Wasteful spending: REFORMED." And he'd do it all by the year 2013.

Of course, McCain didn't win the presidency, but you'd think that as Senator, he'd still be able to have a hand at steering America toward these outcomes. That's why the press release his office sent around detailing the legislation he introduced in today's first session of Congress confuses, because the measures he's taken up lack a certain grandeur:

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today introduced the following legislation on the first day of the 111th Congress:


Abolishing Aviation Barriers Act - Joined by Senator John Ensign, Senator McCain introduced the Abolishing Aviation Barriers Act to repeal the prohibition against nonstop air transportation between Ronald Regan Washington National Airport and any airport that is more than 1,250 statute miles away. The bill would also prohibit the obligation of federal funds to enforce the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey banning flights more than 1,500 statute miles from arrival or departure at New York La Guardia Airport.

Arizona National Scenic Trail Bill - Cosponsored by Senator Jon Kyl, Senator McCain introduced the Arizona National Scenic Trail Bill to designate the Arizona Trail a National Scenic Trail. Approximately 807 miles long, the trail begins at the Coronado National Memorial on the United States-Mexico border and extends to the Arizona Strip bordering Utah.

Bennett Freeze Bill - Cosponsored by Senator Jon Kyl, Senator McCain introduced the Bennett Freeze Bill, which would repeal the Bennett Freeze ending the land-lock between the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe allowing more than 8,000 people living in the Bennett Freeze zone to update living conditions that haven't changed since 1966.

Economic Growth Through Innovation Act of 2009 - The bill would make the current research and development tax credit permanent, which otherwise will expire on December 31, 2009. A permanent, meaningful research and development tax credit will ensure that businesses keep funding research and development, which may lead to numerous new discoveries in the United States such as fuel-efficient vehicles, cancer treatment or the development of clean energy. Additionally, a permanent credit would remove uncertainty now hanging over businesses as they make investment decisions for 2010 and beyond, which will increase our nation's ability to innovate, create jobs and improve our sagging economy.

Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River Act - Cosponsored by Senator Jon Kyl, Senator McCain introduced the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River Act designating segments of Fossil Creek, a tributary to the Verde River in the State of Arizona, as a Wild and Scenic River.

Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments - Cosponsored by Senator Jon Kyl, the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments would expand federal investigative authority by authorizing other federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement, in addition to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to investigate cases of misrepresentation of Indian arts and crafts. The bill would also increase penalties for violating the act.

And, on like that, including something about professional boxing and a study of Walnut Canyon. While the Economic Growth Through Innovation Act of 2009 seems in keeping with someone dreaming big things for 2013, the rest of this litany seems sadly small bore. And some of these bills seem a little like the porky, Woodstock Museum/Bear DNA stuff he impugned on the campaign trail. Maybe that's a product of the First Day of Congress, and we can expect bigger things from McCain as the year develops. There's talk of a collaborative effort on comprehensive immigration reform, for instance. All the same, this is weird stuff to get excited about in a press release.