Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Roll Call -- The Sequel

Ted Stevens (R) Alaska

When we do our Roll Call series, we like to take the information directly from each senator’s website. Senator Stevens website set-up is difficult to copy and paste so the below links will take you to his website. The first link is Senator Stevens’ voting record and the second link is his dealings with issues.

The following information is taken from Wikipedia. Since anyone can post to Wikipedia, it’s possible that there could be errors in the provided information. That’s our disclaimer to the following post. If you want to know more or would like to check the accuracy of the below information, we’ll leave that search up to you.

Theodore Fulton Stevens is the longest serving Republican in the Senate. Stevens has had a six-decade career in government, beginning with his service in World War II. In the 1950s, he held senior positions in the Eisenhower Interior Department. He has served continuously in the Senate since December 1968. He is known for his sponsorship of the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, which resulted in the establishment of the United States Olympic Committee.

On July 29, 2008, Stevens was indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts of failing to report gifts received from VECO Corporation and its CEO Bill Allen on his Senate financial disclosure forms. Stevens is specifically charged with violating provisions of the Ethics in Government Act.

Stevens is running for re-election for his Senate seat in 2008
. He won the Republican primary in August and will face Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich in the general election. (Blogger Comment: okay, this is a hard one for us. We have stated several times that we do not believe in career politicians and that the people need to use their vote to term limit their politicians. As the longest serving Republican in the Senate, Senator Stevens definitely falls in that category. It’s time for him to go. However, his opponent is a Democrat and we are really opposed to adding to the roster of Senate Democrats and giving Harry Reid a filibuster-proof Senate. Oh, what to do, what to do…)


Stevens considers himself "pro-choice". According to and NARAL, Ted Stevens has a mildly pro-life
voting record, despite some notable pro-choice votes.

However, as a former member of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership
, Stevens presumably supported human embryonic stem cell research.

Global Warming

Stevens, once an avowed critic of anthropogenic climate change
, began actively supporting legislation to combat climate change in early 2007. "Global climate change is a very serious problem for us, becoming more so every day," he said at a Senate hearing, adding that he was "concerned about the human impacts on our climate."

However, in September 2007, Stevens said:
“We're at the end of a long, long term of warming. 700 to 900 years of increased temperature, a very slow increase. We think we're close to the end of that. If we're close to the end of that, that means that we'll starting getting cooler gradually, not very rapidly, but cooler once again and stability might come to this region for a period of another 900 years.”

The following is taken directly from Senator Landrieu's website:

Mary Landrieu (D) Louisiana
I firmly believe that the best investment we can make in our future is in the education of our children.
As we bring the 109th Congress to a close and prepare for the 110th Congress, there are many education issues that we must focus on:

Finish What We Started in No Child Left Behind...
Two years ago, Congress laid down a plan for change. One of the founding principles of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was a commitment to hold States and school districts accountable for closing the achievement gap. Among other things, the No Child Left Behind Act requires states to provide a high quality education for every child and to place a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. In exchange for their commitment to reform, states were promised the funding necessary to do so.

If the promise of No Child Left Behind is to be fulfilled, we must not only continue the reforms begun under NCLB, we must fully invest in them. Since we made the commitment to go in this new direction, this Administration has left States to deal with $26.4 billion shortfall in education funding. While investments in education without accountability are a waste of tax-payer dollars, accountability without strategic investments in education are a waste of time. As a member of the committee on Appropriations, I will do whatever is necessary to ensure that our schools have the tools they need to help every child. (Blogger Comment: “whatever is necessary” translates into more taxes. Why do politicians think that they can keep throwing money at issues that aren’t working? More money doesn’t make up for poor legislation or the lack of parental involvement in their child's education.)

Making the Dream of a College Education a Reality for All...
In today's world economy, having a college degree is fast becoming a necessary pre-requisite to long-term success. For too many American's, the rising cost of a college education has made graduating from college a dream instead of a goal. One of the most pressing issues before Congress is how to make college more affordable. (Blogger Comment: that’s not the role of government, nor is it any of their business.) There are many federal programs in place to help students pay for college, such as Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and ROTC, but these programs do not go as far as they used to in covering a student's tuition. In addition, outdated regulations and conflicting special interests serve as barriers for students trying to get help in paying for college.

I believe that the federal government can and should do more to help families afford for their children to go to college. (Blogger Comment: Here’s a tip – give us back our tax money and we can afford to pay for our own education.) As state treasurer, I worked with the Governor and the Legislature to begin the "Student Tuition Assistance Revenue Trust Program" (START). (Blogger Comment: Are you kidding? Were the people of Louisiana asleep when they passed this?)

In this next year, Congress will begin to look at issues affecting our colleges and universities and the students they serve. (Blogger Comment: Thanks for the warning. We’ll be all over that.)

Giving children a head start in life...
Over the last ten years, research on the development of the human brain has helped to us to reach a very important conclusion: if children are going to reach their full potential as adults, they must have access to early childhood education. With this in mind, each year, the federal government spends nearly $8 billion in early childhood programs that are designed to ensure that all children come to school ready to learn. This year, Congress will be taking a second look at these programs and hopes to strengthen and improve their impact on our nation's children (Blogger Comment: Since when is the federal government the expert on childhood education? Where does it say in the U.S. Constitution that the federal government is in charge of children reaching their full potential? And how would they know what that full potential is or what path is correct for each person to take to achieve that potential? Someone needs to pass legislation on saving common sense because it's becoming extinct! Geez…).

I would like to see more state involvement and community leadership in the area of early childhood education (Blogger Comment: Warning – conservative heads exploding all over the place. Why would parents want more state involvement in their child’s education? Everything the government touches, at either the state or federal level, ends up worse than when it started. The day is coming when the government will require that parents just turn their children over to the federal government to raise. Government-mandated education and curriculum is already molding the way children think. It's just a more subtle method of government raising children than actually taking the children out of the home.). Hospitals, universities and community based programs can play a vital role in extending the opportunity of a high quality education to all children. In Louisiana, we have seen that it pays to make this early investment. Through programs like LA-4 and Smart Start, communities across our state are giving the children of our state a chance to succeed.

Civil Rights
As part of her unwavering support for Civil Rights, Sen. Landrieu has called for the full reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2007, saying, "The best way for us to honor the brave men and women who fought so hard for the right to vote is to ensure that the right is never taken away."

Believing that every family has a right to a quality education, better jobs, and affordable and accessible health care, Sen. Landrieu has sponsored and supported countless pieces of legislation expanding opportunities for all Americans. (Blogger Comment: This is a HUGE mistake that some Americans make. No one has a “right” to a quality education, health care, or a better job. Those are things that people work for – the “right” that Americans have is being free to pursue their dreams and goals. In fact, this kind of legislation ends up punishing others as they lose more of their hard-earned money and freedom to pay for someone else’s dream. We can all dream big, but we do it on our own time and money. The only time a person's dream can impose on someone else’s is when the giver does the giving freely. And why does anyone think that the government offers a "quality" education?!)

Anti-Lynching Resolution
Sen. Landrieu also believes that in order to move forward, we must recognize and learn from mistakes of the past. Because of Sen. Landrieu's vision, the United States Senate made history in 2005 when that body apologized to lynching victims and their families for the Senate's failure to enact federal anti-lynching legislation during the first part of the 20th century, when nearly 5,000 Americans have been documented as having been lynched.

In more than 200 years, the United States Senate has rarely found an occasion to apologize. But through the work of Senator Landrieu, the body apologized to lynching victims and their families for the Senate's failure to enact federal anti-lynching legislation during the first part of the 20th century (Blogger Comment: It’s very sad that we even need anti-lynching legislation. What happened to the Bible and loving your neighbor?).

Small Business
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, one of my top priorities has been assisting affected small businesses in Louisiana. These businesses will be key to the economic recovery of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast and there are numerous ways that I am working to help these businesses:
Gulf Coast Open for Business Act of 2006

The Gulf Coast Open for Business Act is meant to address the needs of small businesses along the Gulf Coast, focus on the long-term recovery of the region, and aid victims of future disasters. I introduced this bill to create new tools, bolster existing programs that work, and ensure accountability at all levels so we can help the people of the Gulf Coast reopen their small businesses which will in turn help all of us reopen our homes. This legislation calls for:
· Critical provisions to ensure oversight of the Small Business Administration's (SBA) disaster loan program and contracting practices.
· Authorizes the SBA to pay banks to process disaster loans.
· Changes the Stafford Act to require local firms to get preference for 10 percent of contracts.
· Requires the SBA to develop a comprehensive disaster response plan by the start of the hurricane season (June 1).
The Gulf Coast Open for Business Act also includes some provisions from bipartisan legislation (S. 1807) championed by Sens. Landrieu, Kerry, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, last fall, including:
· Authorizing $50 million in grants to states for Bridge loans to get immediate financial assistance to those devastated by a disaster.
· Providing authority to SBA to back disaster loans for non-profits located or operating in the disaster area or helping evacuees.
· Declaring the disaster areas as Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) giving small businesses in the disaster area preference for contracts.
· Extending the deadline for applying for disaster loans and granting borrowers a one-year grace period after receiving a loan to begin repaying, including interest.
· Increasing disaster mitigation loan amounts so borrowers can apply for 20 percent of the total assessed damage.
· Waiving the cap on grants to Small Business Development Centers.

I have heard from countless Louisiana businesses that they are frustrated by the Federal Government's response following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. (Blogger Comment: This is classic Democrat. Democrats want bigger government to legislate more social programs, yet they complain about the very assistance they demand. This one sentence by Senator Landrieu explains why Republicans want the government to get out of our business and let us handle our communities without government red tape. The first responders to Katrina were private organizations and churches – not the government. Let’s get the government out of the way of these private organizations so that they can provide relief and emergency help. Can any Democrat explain why they want government help from a government who rarely comes through for them?) In Small Business Committee hearings, floor speeches, and through legislation since these disasters, I have focused on creating a more responsive and transparent Small Business Administration. Without this important agency, our businesses cannot fully recover so I want to ensure that it is doing everything it can to help our affected businesses as well as that the SBA is better prepared and more accountable for future disasters.

The Appropriations Committee of which Sen. Landrieu is a member writes legislation allocating federal funds to the numerous government agencies, departments and organizations on an annual basis. Some of this funding is spent directly by the agency, department or organization, and some is then distributed to states, municipalities and local organizations. (Blogger Comment: Why don’t they appropriate less taxes?)

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