And I Bet John McCain Kicks Puppies, Too (Part 1)

For far too long, it’s been a cliche’ to mock the Democrats and their various and sundry special interests as saying “it’s for the children!” whenever they try to justify their sillinesses. But now the Children’s Defense Fund, with their annual ranking of members of Congress who must just out-and-out hate kids, is giving those people fresh ammunition.

I dunno why I’m surprised, but Senator John McCain is the biggest child-hater (90% hateful). (For once, I find myself proud of my Senator, Judd Gregg, who’s only 70% hateful. Come on, Judd, you can do better than that!

Their methodology was simple — childishly so, even: pick ten Senate votes that they thought had the greatest effect on children, and give each Senator 10 points per vote that the CDF liked.

So, what were these ten votes that were so fundamental to the well-being of America’s children?

1. Increase the Minimum Wage
Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2000, Passage, H.R. 2, as amended
Passed 94-3 (R 45-3, D 47-0, I 2-0) on February 1, 2007. Enacted in P. L. 110-28.
Vote Description: This bill raised the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two
years, the first increase in the minimum wage in 10 years.
CDF Action Council Position: Yes. This bill passed into law a long overdue increase in pay
for minimum wage workers. A vote for this bill was a vote to help struggling low-income families
with children.

Yup. Even though the studies I’ve read show that largest group earning minimum wage are those who are most recently children, and not parents, this was crucial to helping kids. Even though the bill didn’t (to the best of my knowledge) affect minors in the workforce. Even though a lot of employers said that they’d balance the increased wages by cutting positions to avoid taking a bigger hit on their payroll expenses, it was the single most important issue facing America’s children.

2. Increase Funding for Education for Children with Disabilities
Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2008, S. Con. Res. 21,
S. Amdt. 545 – Special Education
Rejected 38-58 (R 0-47, D 36-11, I 2-0) on March 22, 2007.
Vote Description: The amendment would have restored the top marginal tax rate on taxable
income in excess of $1 million to pre-2001 levels and used the additional revenue to increase
funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
CDF Action Council Position: Yes. Adoption of the amendment would have provided
a large increase for needed funding to help ensure a free appropriate education for children with
disabilities. It would be funded by taxing the richest Americans
.

OK, this one is almost not laughable. Raise the taxes on the rich to help disabled people, some of whom are children. But note the language — “restore(d) the top marginal tax rate.” “Restore” implies that the old rate was the natural, fair, just rate, and “marginal” implies that it’s only a few get soaked. Another way of saying the same thing would be “jack the taxes on the class that contains those who contribute the most to our economy’s continued prosperity,” but that uses the kind of biased language that the CDF doesn’t approve of.

3. Protect Children from Unsafe Medications
Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act, S. 1082
Passed 93-1 (R 44-0, D 48-0, I 1-1) on May 9, 2007.
Vote Description: This bill would revise and extend Food and Drug Administration (FDA) programs to ensure the safety of prescription drugs and medical devices and expand the FDA’s ability to review the safety of prescription drugs and track problems after they have been approved and marketed.
CDF Action Council Position: Yes. This legislation would help protect children from unsafe
medications. It includes critical provisions that would greatly increase the amount and quality of
information doctors need to safely prescribe medication to children. It also provides incentives
to drug companies that conduct responsible testing to determine prescription drug safety and
dosage requirements, since children react to medications very differently than adults.

Yet another bill that affects everyone, but somehow the fact that it also affects children makes it automatically not only a good idea, but a moral imperative. The CDF’s mentality comes shining through on this list — “we don’t care who gets screwed over, as long as at least one child might be benefited somehow!” Usually they’re better at keeping that concealed.

4. 2008 Budget Resolution
Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2008, S. Con. Res. 21, Conference Report
Agreed to 52-40 (R 2-40, D 48-0, I 2-0) on May 17, 2007.
Vote Description: The Conference Report on the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Resolution allowed
up to $954.1 billion in discretionary spending, plus $145.2 billion for operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan. It reinstated pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules in the Senate and set up a mechanism
in the House to block tax cuts if the projected surplus in fiscal year 2012 does not materialize.
CDF Action Council Position: Yes. The Budget Resolution included important funding priorities
for children, including up to $50 billion in additional funding for the State Children’s Health
Insurance Program (SCHIP). It also rejected many of the cuts the President had proposed for
the 2008 budget, including cuts in other important health and education programs.

See above. Because the entire federal budget contains items for children, the whole thing should have been passed just to make sure those elements are funded.

5. Extend Health Coverage to 3.2 Million More Uninsured Children
Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, H.R. 976
Passed 68-31 (R 18-31, D 48-0, I 2-0) on August 2, 2007.
Vote Description: The bill would reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program
(SCHIP) for five years and increase federal funding for child health coverage through SCHIP
and Medicaid by nearly $35 billion over five years. The cost of the expansion would be funded
by a 61 cent per pack federal cigarette tax increase.
CDF Action Council Position: Yes. This legislation would extend health coverage to more
than one-third (3.2 million) of the more than nine million uninsured children in America. It
includes new funding and policy improvements needed by states to enroll and provide health
coverage to millions of children who are currently eligible but not enrolled in SCHIP and Medicaid
.

This one is a gold mine. First up, they out-and-out lie about the bill. It would not “extend” health coverage, it would “offer” — there’s no requirement that parents sign their kids up for it. Next, there were a lot of good reasons for opposing the expansion of the SCHIP program — two of them that particularly annoyed me were the provisions that would have defined as “poor children” people as old as 25 and families making up to 4 times the poverty level. I had a hard time wrapping my head around my having to pay higher taxes to subsidize people making well over twice what I pull down in a year.

Whoa… I just realized I’m closing in on 1200 words, and I’m only halfway through their list here. That’s partly their fault; they were so damned verbose in the parts I had to quote. I guess I better break this into two parts. The rest will be posted later today.

And I Bet John McCain Kicks Puppies, Too (Part 2)
The Knucklehead of the Day award