Archive (2008)

More Gas

Following up on yesterday's story, WENY asked Randy Kuhl about his plan to lessen the impact of higher gas prices. Kuhl says he supports a federal gas tax holiday and also supports a $6,000 tax credit for those who buy a fuel-efficient car.

The gas tax holiday has been discussed earlier here and here. It just won't work.

The tax credit for buying a more economical car might actually be effective. But with the rising deficit, I'd like to see how it will be financed, and I'd also like to see a study showing that a tax credit is a significantly better incentive than the rising price of gas itself. Maybe $4/gallon gas by itself will spur people to buy smaller cars.

Morning Massa News

Eric Massa makes a brief statement in a WENY story about gas prices. Massa's comments are drowned out by some crazy talk from Maurice Hinchey (D-NY-22), who wants to cap the price of gas at $2.49 and give everyone $6,000 for buying more fuel efficient vehicles. Maurice was mum on the possibility of shiny new ponies for everyone, though that might be coming in a follow-up story.

Massa will be one of the speakers at a pro-Clinton rally outside tomorrow's DNC meeting discussing the seating of the Michigan and Florida delegations. Hotline has promoted Massa to Representative in that item.

A Little Reading

I ran across a couple of interesting reads this week.

First, the Congressional Budget Office's letter [pdf] to Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) about the Webb GI Bill.

The CBO analysis shows that, as John McCain claims, the new GI Bill would decrease retention. However, the CBO's analysis shows that this can be partially offset by recruiting bonuses, and also that the quantity and quality of new recruits will rise with better educational bonuses. In addition, the total five-year cost of the original bill is $1.1 billion. That last number doesn't figure in the additional taxes paid by better-educated (and therefore better-paid) vets.

Second, here's an interesting McClatchy story about the Bush administration's budget requests for Iraqi police versus US police. The White House wants $603 million for Iraqi police, yet has cut a grant program for local police by $700 million. Since the start of the war, we've spent a little over $20 billion on training and equipping the Iraqi police force and army.

More DCCC Ads

The DCCC has added a web ad to its campaign highlighting Randy Kuhl's present vote on Iraq funding. It will also field a new robo-call from General Wesley Clark:

Hi, this is General Wes Clark, calling on behalf of the DCCC.

Congressman Randy Kuhl had the opportunity to stand up for our veterans.

Instead he voted against expanding the GI bill for the first time since World War II to provide a free college education for veterans.

That's leaving our veterans behind.

Call Randy Kuhl at 607-776-9142 and tell him to stand up for our troops and our veterans.

Paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

The web ad is embedded below:

Update: The DCCC released a Kuhl-specific version of the ad.

Massa Press Conference

Grievous Angel at Rochesterturning has today's Massa Press Conference. The main topic was the Webb GI Bill, from a number of different angles. Massa sees it as a key difference between him and Randy Kuhl.


Exile at Rochesterturning notes that Randy Kuhl is touting a "clean" version of the new GI Bill, and wonders if Kuhl really thinks that nobody will notice his earlier opposition to the real GI Bill. There's little chance of that, because there's no antidote to Kuhl's position on this issue.

Kuhl has allied himself with a narrow majority of the Republican House that opposes Senator Jim Webb's version of the GI Bill. The original version of Webb's bill has 300 co-sponsors in the House. The latest version passed in the Senate last week by a 75-22 vote.

Kuhl has not explained his vote against the GI Bill, so one has to assume that he agrees with Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, who have offered a less generous version of Webb's bill. McCain and Graham's position is that Webb's GI Bill, which allows full benefits after three years of service, will hurt recruiting. After three years, a soldier has probably served two full tours in Iraq, but that's not enough for McCain, Bush and Kuhl -- their shared vision of a long-term US presence in Iraq requires a penurious GI Bill that gives soldiers an incentive for multiple re-enlistments.

Kuhl's present vote on the Iraq supplemental, and his vote against an amendment adding the new GI Bill to that supplemental, make stuff like his most recent blog post sound like so much hot air. He talks of troops "working tirelessly to protect and defend our rights", but he's allied with an administration that begrudges them a .5% extra pay raise. A good number of his Republican colleagues have abandoned Bush on this one, and so have some conservatives, but Randy's chosen to stay the course.

Memorial Day News

Randy Kuhl gave yesterday's commencement address at Keuka College. Kuhl's speech drew heavily on the inspiration of John F. Kennedy's inagural address. Today, Kuhl will be at the Fairport Memorial Day commemoration, which is keynoted by Maj. Gen. (Ret.) John Batiste, an outspoken critic of the Iraq War and Massa endorser.

Eric Massa will attend the Memorial Day commemoration at the Corning American Legion. Massa is not campaigning today.

Here are the Ads

The DCCC and Americans United for Change ads are embedded after the jump.

DCCC Radio Ad:

Download mp3 (1.4MB)

Americans United TV Ad:

Morning News: More Ads, Veto Override

The DCCC will run radio ads decrying another one of Kuhl's Iraq votes. This ad campaign targets his "present" vote on Iraq funding. I think the vote against the new GI bill is a more important vote, but who am I to question the wisdom of the DCCC? (via Rochesterturning)

Randy Kuhl voted to override President Bush's veto of the Farm Bill yesterday. The override is in a bit of limbo now, because a clerical error omitted an uncontroversial part of the bill from the first vote. It looks like the whole bill will be re-voted, re-vetoed and re-overridden.

Ads Target Kuhl Vote on GI Bill

Randy Kuhl's vote against the new GI Bill will be the target of a just-announced ad campaign from Americans United for Change. Details of the campaign have not been released. In the past, these campaigns have been long on press releases and short on media buys, but they usually garner a story in print or on TV. I'll embed the ad once Americans United releases it.

Kuhl Campaign Site Re-Emerges

The Kuhl campaign has re-launched the Kuhl for Congress site. Some new features include a blog, and the ability to contribute via credit card.

The issues page is similar to the old blog, and many of the issue statements reference events in the distant past. For example, the "War on Terror" section references Kuhl's 2006 trip to Iraq as a recent one.

Amo's Massachusetts Earmark

Reader Paul sends stories from Boston concerning one of Amo Houghton's last earmarks. Houghton, who held the 29th seat for nine terms, is one of the honorary chairs of Randy Kuhl's re-election campaign.

The Boston Globe story reports that Amo inserted a $50K earmark into a water appropriations bill to study the feasibility of connecting a pond in Massachusetts to a nearby harbor. The pond happens to cause flooding of nearby properties, one of which is owned by Houghton's wife. The study earmark was followed by another earmark of $728K by Democrat Bill Delahunt (MA-10), who represents Cohasset. The Corps of Engineers also budgeted $320K from a discretionary fund for the project.

The Boston Herald column includes a picture of the property. A later Herald piece reports that the town of Cohasset rejected the project.

My impression of Amo Houghton is that he's an honorable man, and I take him at his word when he says that he believes this project is in the best interests of the area. But the problem with earmarks is that even a well-intentioned, bi-partisan earmark is often bad policy. Clearly, the Cohasset voters think the project isn't essential. So it's unlikely that it would have been funded if Amo hadn't been able to use his connections to secure federal funding.