Mike Thompson Watch


Some Votes, Then Vacation

(August 22, 2007)

The U.S. Congress took a vacation in August. The war in Iraq goes on, global warming goes on, injustice in the U.S. goes on, but maybe with a little rest the bums will be more in a mood to do something about these problems when they get back.

On July 27, 2007 Mike Thompson voted Yes to the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act (H.R. 2419), which passed with a 231 to 191 majority (See: Text of Bill (744 pages); Status of Bill; an excellent Sacramento Bee opinion piece). Most of the bill is the routing allocation of taxpayer money to special interest groups. New in this bill is a provision to buy farm state votes and campaign donations from venture capitalists by spending taxpayer money on the creation of a greatly expanded ethanol fuel industry, rather than letting the capitalists fund it themselves. It encourages environmental destruction and the conversion of land used to grow good to corn production for ethanol. It will do little to help with global warming because the inputs into the production of corn are almost a match for the ethanol that is produced. Ethanol makes some sense in Brazil where it can be made from cane sugar. Importing Brazilian ethanol would do more to slow global warming, but in this one instance when free trade might actually make sense for the environment, Congress chose to close off trade and waste taxpayer money within the U.S. instead.

In July Mike Thompson voted for the fiscal year 2008 Energy/Water Development Appropriation, which gives $31.6 billion to the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Corps of Engineers. The bill passed 312 to 112.

He voted for the fiscal year 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, which authorized $153.7 billion in these areas. The bill passed 276 to 140. The appropriations bill for the Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development authorized $104.4 billion; Mike Thompson voted Yes with the Democratic Party majority. The bill passed 268 to 153. The Appropriation bill for the Departments of Commerce and Justice passed 281 to 142, with Mike voting Yes, authorizing $53.6 billion.

In the security arena Representative Thompson voted Yes, with a 371 to 40 majority, for the Improving America's Security Act of 2007, which implements some of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that had not yet been implemented.

-- William P. Meyers

Thompson Watch Main Page

Mike Thomspon is the current elected member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 1st Congressional District.