GOP Shuts Down Forest Protection Hearing, Protesting Health Reform?

The Summit Daily News reported today:

Summit County’s state lawmakers are in the nation’s capital today, testifying in support of legislation that would provide funding to address the mountain bark beetle epidemic.

State Sen. Dan Gibbs and State Rep. Christine Scanlan, both of whom represent Summit County, are lobbying U.S. senators in hopes of drumming up millions of dollars for western forests through the National Forest Insect and Disease Emergency Act.

“We both think it’s a really positive bill for the state of Colorado and other Western states,” Gibbs said.

The mountain pine beetle outbreak has affected 2.9 million acres of trees in Colorado. In Colorado and southern Wyoming combined, the total area infested totals 3.6 million acres – an area larger than the state of Connecticut. Gibbs cited estimates that every lodgepole pine tree in the state will be dead within a decade…

Well, we just got a press release from Sen. Mark Udall–this hearing never happened, and lots of upcoming hearings may not happen anytime soon from the read of it. Full text follows, says Sen. Udall, “Angry over the passage of health insurance reform legislation, Republican leaders are using an arcane rule, which requires the unanimous consent of Senators in both parties to agree to hearings scheduled after 2 p.m., and have objected to the bark beetle hearing and vowed not to cooperate with Democrats for the rest of the year.” [Pols emphasis]

Given Sen. Udall’s often to-a-fault preference for bipartisanship and respectful verbiage, we find the title of his update, “Today’s hearing canceled due to Republican Obstruction,” fairly significant. We’re also completely baffled by this new strategy from Republicans; do they really believe that intentionally paralyzing the government will make them more likable?


**IMPORTANT UPDATE: Today’s hearing on Senator Udall’s bark beetle legislation has been canceled due to Republican Obstruction**

Washington, D.C. – Today’s scheduled hearing on Senator Mark Udall’s bill to protect communities from wildfire and falling trees as a result of bark beetle infestation has been canceled due to Republican obstructionism.  Angry over the passage of health insurance reform legislation, Republican leaders are using an arcane rule, which requires the unanimous consent of Senators in both parties to agree to hearings scheduled after 2 p.m., and have objected to the bark beetle hearing and vowed not to cooperate with Democrats for the rest of the year.

Senator Udall today strongly urged Republican leaders to stop their political maneuvering and allow the hearing about a critical public safety issue to be re-scheduled this week.  One of the witnesses set to testify at the hearing was Colorado State Senator Dan Gibbs.

“It is critical that this hearing go forward – especially with Senator Gibbs in Washington to explain how important this bipartisan bill is to Coloradans.  Delay just prevents urgently needed resources from going to Colorado communities threatened by beetle-killed trees,” Senator Udall said.  ”I strongly urge my colleagues to re-think their strategy – this is a matter of public safety, and that’s too important for political gamesmanship.”

TODAY: Udall Announces Hearing on his Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Damage Caused by Bark Beetle, Protect Communities from Wildfire

Bill Provides Additional Tools and Resources for Forest Service to Address Beetle-Killed Trees, Prioritize Emergency Areas, Work with State Officials on Treatments

Washington, D.C. – Today, Tuesday, March 23, U.S. Senator Mark Udall will participate in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing about a bipartisan bill he introduced to give the Forest Service and Interior Department more resources to reduce safety and health threats posed by bark beetle-damaged trees.  The bill would allow foresters to prioritize emergency areas, enabling them to more quickly address the most serious threats and, in some cases, work with state officials to treat beetle-killed trees near homes.

At Senator Udall’s invitation, Colorado State Senator Dan Gibbs will testify about the devastating impact bark beetles have had on Colorado forests and the need to act to protect people and homes from wildfire and other damage.

When:        Today, Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2:30 PM (EDT)/ 12:30 PM (MDT)

Where:       Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hearing Room 366**

39 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pam Bennett says:

    What a bunch of losers.

    Can’t have their way like they used to, back when they destroyed our Constitution and went along with the worst prez ever to send our young troops to their deaths and injuries.  So they are pouting now.

    Won’t play after lunch.

    Those are supposed to be grownups?

    I remember when Republicans had some decency and worked to make the U.S. a better country. Now? Ha!  It looks like they are trying to make Limbough happy again; so he won’t leave them for a socialized medicine happy island.

    The sad demise of a national party is occurring as we watch C-SPAN.

  2. Tazistan JenTazistan Jen says:

    The Repubs think this sort behavior will benefit them?  I seriously doubt it.

  3. Danny the Red (hair)Danny the Red (hair) says:

    But what the fuck is wrong with these people?

    I think of all the laws that passed that I hated during the Bush years and I never would have condoned this ridiculous foot stomping and pouting in protest.

    Has the GOP completely given up on governing?

    Yes, health care is important, whether you support this law, a different bill, or no bill at all, but it is not the only thing going on in this country.

    Is the GOP going to pout in the corner while this country still struggles with unemployment?  Are they going to ignore the financial system…Again?  And closer to home, are they going to do something about the pine beetles or are they going to tell Colorado’s mountain communities “sorry we have to throw a tantrum?”

    I mean we are not asking for them to do anything, but work past 2 o’clock or rather allow others to work past 2 o’clock because it is clear they have no intention of doing anything until ….(?)

    Sheeeesh

  4. Middle of the Road says:

    Being perceived as the party that refuses do do anything other than say “no” and takes it to such an extreme that it begins to affect individual state issues is risky. Very risky. And almost guaranteed to backfire.  

  5. BlueCat says:

    How statesmanlike of the Republicans. They don’t care whether any legislation might benefit their constituents, vets, children or even their own corporate overlords. Their one and only priority for the rest of the year is spite. No surprise that the party that cowers at the feet of the Big Fat Idiot is a collection of Big Fat Babies who are actually proud of their decision to devote the rest of the year to a Big Fat Tantrum.

    That ought to go over well with the indies and moderates.  That and the connection between the GOP and the tea partiers with their taunting of people with incurable diseases and racist, homophobic epithets, sometimes accompanied by spitting.  They’re all charmed, I’m sure.

    Memo to McCain: the tea party and the middle both think you’re pathetic.  

  6. Steve Harvey says:

    They make it so easy to be a Democrat, and so easy to feel unambiguously on the side of reason and good will, in opposition to irrationality and belligerence.

  7. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    There seems to be an unwillingness to even consider that an opposing point of view even has legitimacy. I think part of this stems from the necessity to keep Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck happy. I also think part of it is they have not come to terms with the fact that they are no longer in charge.

    But I think another large part is that a significant chunk of the base is unwilling to consider anything outside of their own beliefs. That’s why you see them adamantly disbelieving global warming when nothing in the conservative mantra says that it should be fought. It’s a way to embrace the concept that personal beliefs should trump even science.

  8. DevilishlyModerate says:

    Dems should announce some common sense and popular initiatives and call the Republicans on their bluff.  

  9. Republican 36 says:

    including the legislative branch. What we have observed today is another indication of the downfall of the Republcian Party. Taken over by extremists, especially religious extremists, who believe they have been ordained to rule the United States and that it is impossible for other ideas or principles to prevail, they refuse to acknowledge the goodness or reasonableness of other people. In fact, their only response is to demonize them.

    Here is an example of what these people are teaching their children in the so called Christian schools in the United States. The following are excerpts from America’s Providential History (authored by Mark A. Beliles and Stephen K. McDowell) which is one of the standard history books used in these schools:

    “Even if Christians manage to outnumber others on an issue and we sway our Congressman by sheer numbers, we end up in the dangerous promotion of democracy. We really do not want representatives who are swayed by majorities, but rather by correct principles.” See p. 265.

    The same school textbook characterizes the income taxe as “idolatory” and the property tax as “theft” and demands the inheritance tax be terminated. See p. 214.

    The same textbook goes on to teach these children that God created the United States as a Christian nation and God intends the United States to “make disciples of all  nations.”  See p. 3. This of course means eternal war with the rest of the world.

    They are attempting to indoctrinate our children into believeing that they must defy secular law whenever it conflicts with biblical law. In short, these people do not support our institutions and tradtional beliefs and they have the Republican Party by the throat at this moment in our history.

    What happened today may represent pouting over the vote this past Sunday evening but it is also rooted in the fanatical beliefs being taught the next generation of Republican leaders and at least reflected, in part, by the Republicans in Washington today. There will be no compromise with these people. They do not intend to compromise with us.

    • Steve Harvey says:

      These fundamentalist Christians have more in common with their fundamentalist Islamic counterparts than they do with our own Founding Fathers. (And the rest of us the world over who want to live in peace and prosperity have more in common with one another than any of us have with the violent radicals in our own countries). Apparently, they don’t understand that those “corrupt principles” are called “The Constitution of the United States of America,” or more specifically The Bill of Rights, whose purpose is to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. Would-be tyrants always have difficulty with such restraints.

  10. OneEyedOwl says:

    Preschoolers who act like congressional Republicans often find themselves in time-out, while the rest of the kids play without them.  

  11. Middle of the Road says:

    Save your $$$ kids, because you are going to be able to gobble up lakefront property super cheap when the next great Yellowstone fire hits. There is nothing left on the west side of the Park but dead pine, miles and miles and miles of it. And half the town is located in the trees.

    Without the money this bill provides (and Scanlan is saying we need at least $50 million) and without fire mitigation, major tourist towns are going to be nothing more than ash.  

    • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

      My son spent the past year living in Fraser. I was actually pretty worried about him for that reason. A forest fire is one thing. But what will happen eventually up there is a fire like yo momma ain’t never seen.

      • Middle of the Road says:

        That’s exactly what he says–it’s gonna be a “stand back and watch it burn” kind of fire because there is no way to combat it.

        • … and the wood wasn’t terribly moist to begin with.  If they don’t get the money to thin it out, it’s going to be one hell of a BBQ.

          But that’s not important, because Republicans need to pout a bit after failing to prevent health care reform.

          • gertie97 says:

            They’ll blame Democrats and “radical environmentalists” for blocking logging.

            Then they’ll rush in to buy cheap property.

            \

            • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

              pretty well, don’t you?

              My late ex-brother in law lived in Newport, Rhode Island. He loves to tell the story of how, during the Nixon administration, the Navy announced they were going to close the base there. A few months later, they recinded that decision. Not before a consortium of wealthy folks bought a ton of real estate at very depressed prices (he said it went down to about 40 cents on the dollar).

              Lo and behold, after the announcment that the closure was cancelled, prices rebounded sharply. It was later discovered that the three principles in the real estate consortium were…Doris Duke, Bebe Rebozo, and, that’s right, Richard Nixon. Some things never change.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      but there will be mass evacuations.

      I live in the red zone and these fire mitigation projects are the only ones going on in my area (Gilpin).  ARRA money is being spent for four projects in the north end of the county.  It is the Obama administration that is funding these fire mitigation projects and it makes sense.  You can’t stop the beetles but you can reduce the scope and magnitude of the resulting fires with strategic fire management initiatives.

      Conservatives bitch about the tree huggers but offer no solutions except to pray that everyone gets out alive.  It is really weak leadership.

  12. Schedule them up to 1:59PM, and let them run as long as needed.  Then schedule floor votes after the committees are done – no floor votes before 2PM, stay as late as required.

    On a more local note, it’s good to know that Republicans don’t care about rural mountain Colorado – it’ll make our job easier this election season.

  13. Froward69 says:

    the republican way…

    power hungry Bastids

  14. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Why on earth does it take unanimous consent to hold hearings after 2:00 pm?

  15. BlueCat says:

    I don’t see a single comment from ‘Tad or LB or any of our conservative friends in defense of the latest Republican battle cry: Spite before constituents or country, hurrah!  

    Wonder if they’re still trying to convince themselves or anyone else that this is a reasonable way for grown ups to behave.  Wonder how long any sane person can argue  that the mean, wacky, racist, homophobic fringe is way outside the Republican mainstream while 57 percent of Republicans  still insist Obama is a Muslim, 24 percent say “he may be the Antichrist”, and 45 percent agree with Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president” according to a brand new poll.

    What really strikes me is the obsession with comparing Obama to Hitler (38 percent) when it’s today’s GOP that has achieved the highest degree of absolute, lockstep, not one vote out of place obedience of any party in American history, including their own in the not so distant past.  

    I won’t, however, commit the faux pas of comparing them to Hitler and the Nazis. Today’s GOP, with all but those of one mind assimilated or destroyed (resistance is futile) in primaries, is really more like the Borg. Just look at John Boehner.

  16. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    Geez, are the Republicans TRYING to come across like a bunch of dicks?

  17. Republicans today added to the committee shutdown list with a few real head-scratchers:

    They shut down an Armed Services meeting on the 2011 defense budget, complete with testimony of generals flown in from overseas.  The hearing was to focus on PACCOM, STRATCOM, and Korea.

    They also shut down a Judicial committee meeting to confirm several justices and a hearing on the FY2011 SBA budget, and rumor has it they’ve shut down or shortened a number of other committee hearings, including one addressing VA homelessness, one addressing the 2011 Guard and Reserve budget, one addressing military health systems, a nomination for Homeland Security (and the list goes on).

    Do Republican leaders really think this will work?  They’re nucking futs!

  18. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    When the pissing match about the Contract on America shut down the government, what was the political result?

    The re-election of Bill Clinton.

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