Thursday, November 18, 2004

Your Republicans At Work!

Thank God for the "moral elite"! Where would our country be without them!

GOP Looking to Repeal Food Labeling Law
WASHINGTON -- Telling consumers where their meat, fruit and vegetables came from seemed such a good idea to U.S. ranchers and farmers in competition with imports that Congress two years ago ordered the food industry to do it. But meatpackers and food processors fought the law from the start, and newly emboldened Republicans now plan to repeal it before Thanksgiving.

As part of the 2002 farm bill, country-of-origin labeling was supposed to have gone into effect this fall. Congress last year postponed it until 2006. Now, House Republicans are trying to wipe it off the books as part of a spending bill they plan to finish this month.

House Ethics Rules Should Not Be Weakened To Let DeLay Remain House Majority Leader if Indicted
WASHINGTON -- November 17 -- In the frantic special session of Congress under way, House Republicans are rewriting House ethics rules to protect Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) from himself. Specifically, a handful of lawmakers are attempting to rescind the rule that would force DeLay to temporarily resign his leadership post if he is indicted for criminal activity in Texas until the case is resolved. Public Citizen strongly condemns any effort by House Republicans to insulate DeLay from the consequences of his ethical lapses.

The House ethics rule dates back to 1993, when House Republicans wanted then-House Ways and Means Chairperson Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) to be held accountable for his own ethics violations. In the early 1990s, DeLay helped lead the floor fight for tougher ethics requirements, resulting in the rule that members of the House cannot serve as leaders while under indictment for violating state or federal laws. DeLay complained that the House had become poorly managed because of disregard for the rules.

Today’s rule change, proposed by Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), would end the penalty only for House leaders indicted by a state grand jury, as in DeLay’s potential situation.

New Documents Reveal Bush Administration Allowed Drilling Under National Park Service Areas:
Rules Made in Secret Would Affect More Than a Dozen Park Service Areas

WASHINGTON -- November 17 -- The Sierra Club today released documents showing that the Bush administration gave special treatment to Texas-based Davis Brothers Oil Producers, Inc., when it reversed a longstanding policy in order to allow oil and gas drilling underneath certain national parks, preserves and refuges regardless of potential environmental impacts. More than a dozen National Park Service areas could be impacted by the rule, including Big Thicket National Preserve and Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, New River Gorge in West Virginia, and Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida.

Documents obtained by Sierra Club through the Freedom of Information Act show that the Bush administration changed the rule specifically at the request of Ross Davis, who runs Davis Brothers Oil Producers. Moreover, the administration made its decision in secret and bypassed the regular rulemaking process, which allows for public input and a high degree of transparency.

“These documents show that the Bush administration bent over backwards to help its friends in the oil and gas industry even when the facts showed that its policy would harm national parks," said Brandt Mannchen of the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter, who has been tracking drilling problems around Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas. "This administration seems to think there are two sets of rules, one for oil and gas companies and one for everyone else."

More of that fine "morality" to come...

Stay tuned!


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