Lots of people remarked on how Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the other two local Florida Republicans who just survived tougher-than-usual re-election races switched their votes on S-CHIP and voted for it last week after being pilloried for a series of no votes back when it mattered.
I didn't join that chorus. I saw these as cheap votes for a bill that was now certain to pass; yes votes a year ago might have actually swung the tide on a bill that will particularly benefit South Florida due to the very large number of uninsured children in our community.
And only a few days later I feel vindicated: our own Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, supposedly one of those chastened Republicans, now more sensitized to our needs after a hard-fought (but ultimately not that close) election is right back to her old tricks: letting ideology trump reality.
One of our current realities is that the State of Florida is facing declining tax revenues, and is balancing its books on the backs of schoolchildren. And the schools of Miami-Dade are taking a fearsome hit in the budget the GOP-controlled legislature has just sent to the Governor.
One consequence of this disaster is a push to provide some funds at the national level. Again, that would be of disproportionate benefit to South Florida because we're in such dire
straightsstraits. But — surprise — our own Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is against it.
U.S. House bill would pump millions into S. Fla. schools: Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, called the economic stimulus plan “a reflection of the state of this nation's priorities.”
“To secure our future, we must invest in our students today by reversing cutbacks in education, preventing teacher layoffs, keeping class sizes small and building modern schools outfitted with 21st-century classrooms,” he said.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, was skeptical.
“Borrowing and spending are out of control in Congress,” she said. “Every week, we are confronted with a new massive bailout plan that is packaged as an emergency must-have bill. The true bill will be passed along to our children in massive deficits.”
I didn't hear any of that stuff when she voted — repeatedly — for tax cuts for rich people, did you? But now that the economy requires massive fiscal stimulus to stave off a Depression, now it's time to ration the children again.