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And I Bet John McCain Kicks Puppies, Too (Part 2)

(Note: Part 1 can be found here)

OK, earlier I took a look at the Children's Defense Fund's ratings of our senators, and how they came do decide that John McCain was the biggest kiddie-hater in the Senate. But I ran out of room after only listing half the criteria; here are the other five Senate votes that, in the CDF's eyes, were the most critical for America's children.

6. Help Youth Pay for College
College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, H.R. 2669, Conference Report
Agreed to 79-12 (R 34-12, D 43-0, I 2-0) on September 7, 2007. Enacted as P. L. 110-084.
Vote Description: This Conference Report redirected federal funding from student loan firms to aid for students and college graduates. It also increased Pell grant awards and improved debt forgiveness provisions for certain public-sector workers.
CDF Action Council Position: Yes. A yes vote on this Conference Report was a vote for children because it would increase opportunities for youth to go to college, especially youth from lower income families.

I can kinda see the appeal here -- shift money from student loans to outright grants. Considering the default rate and hassle in getting those loans repaid, it makes a cynical kind of sense -- why not just call it a gift up front, and not bother expecting it to be repaid?

But here's a counter-argument: wouldn't keeping these as loans be a good move towards teaching the students responsibility? To remind them that they owe this nation, in a very literal sense, for their education, and have an obligation to repay that debt?

Also, I'd be very curious to see just what "certain public-sector workers" qualified under this bill. I strongly suspect there would be at least a couple of categories that I would cheerfully categorize as parasites, and we certainly don't need to be subsidizing them.

7. Extend Health Coverage to 3.1 Million More Uninsured Children Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, H.R. 976, Motion to Concur with House Amendments Passed 67-29 (R 18-29, D 47-0, I 2-0) on September 27, 2007. Vetoed by President Bush on October 3, 2007. Vote Description: The Senate voted a second time on this legislation because the House made changes when it passed the bill. 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. It would be funded by a 61 cent per pack federal cigarette tax increase. CDF Action Council Position: Yes. This bill would extend health coverage to one-third (3.1 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.

Oh, they're going to count SCHIP twice? I really don't feel the need to repeat my arguments from the morning. Apparently these people are paid by the word or something, but I'm not. Everything I said back at point five applies here, in double.

8. Support Education for Children of Immigrants
DREAM Act/Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, S. 2205, Cloture on the Motion to Proceed
Rejected 52-44 (R 12-36, D 38-8, I 2-0) on October 24, 2007.
Vote Description: The Senate rejected a motion to allow a vote on a bill that would have permitted children of illegal immigrants who entered the United States before age 16 and who have lived here at least five years to gain conditional legal status and eventual citizenship if they graduate from high school and attend college or join the military for at least two years.
CDF Action Council Position: Yes. The Senate denied many children of immigrants the opportunity for college, the military and citizenship when it refused to even allow a vote on this important bill.

This one act did more to galvanize those of us who are most angry about illegal aliens than pretty much anything else. It would have granted in-state tuition and a path to citizenship to illegal aliens who happened to be children.

One of the reasons I (and many others) opposed it was that one of the key motivators for illegal aliens to come to the United States is to gain benefits for their children. Offering even more benefits, including a path to amnesty for those children, would have made the incentives for the illegal aliens even that much more tempting.

Also, it bothered a lot of people that it would have set up a circumstance where it would have been better to be an illegal alien than a legal alien -- or even an American citizen.

Let me cite a hypothetical example. Imagine a family that lives in Nashua, New Hampshire. (It's a city right on the Massachusetts border.) Both parents work in Massachusetts, paying taxes to the Bay State. Their child wishes to attend a Massachusetts state college -- say, the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, just a short trip down the highway. Even though both parents pay taxes to Massachusetts, that student would still have to pay out-of-state tuition and "Operating Fee" -- $20,301.00. On the other hand, an illegal alien living in Lowell would only have to fork over $8,648.00 for the same privilege. In essence, the American from New Hampshire would be paying a penalty of $11,653.00.

I have a deep, philosophical problem with any program that makes it more beneficial to be an illegal alien than an American citizen. A pity that the CDF doesn't agree.

9. Fund Child Health and Education
Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008, H.R. 3043, Motion to Recede and Concur
Passed 56-37 (R 10-36, D 44-1, I 2-0) on November 7, 2007.
Vetoed by President Bush on November 13, 2007.
Vote Description: This bill would provide $150.7 billion in fiscal year 2008 for specific programs in the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and related agencies.
CDF Action Council Position: Yes. This bill would have helped children by providing some funding increases for key health, mental health, education and job training programs and rejecting cuts proposed by the President in other important programs for children.

Once again, the CDF's mentality shines through: if a single aspect of a vote would somehow, in their eyes, benefit children, then it must be passed or you hate children. I also find the idea that "job training" is a direct benefit for children -- I thought the job of a child was to be a child, and "job training" was mainly for adults. Silly me.

10. Give Children a Head Start
Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act, H.R. 1429, Conference Report
Agreed to 95-0 (R 48-0, D 45-0, I 2-0) on November 14, 2007. Enacted as P.L. No. 110-134.v Vote Description: This Conference Report expanded access to Head Start for more children, prioritized expansion of the Early Head Start Program, and made other improvements for the youngest children in the program. It also required quality improvements, including new associate and bachelor degree requirements for teachers and increased annual in-service training, and improved coordination between Head Start and other programs for young children.
CDF Action Council Position: Yes. A vote for the improvements in Head Start, which has successfully served children for more than four decades, was a vote to help children get ready for school.

Gee, I thought it was the responsibility of parents to "help children get ready for school," not the federal government. Or, at least, the job of state and local governments.

This, more than anything else, shows the agenda of the CDF: to supplant the duties of parents towards their children, and get the federal government (not even the local or state government) directly involved with child-raising.

I was generally opposed to this from the moment I first started thinking about politics. It's been my observation that if you want to find the most inefficient, most ineffective, most impersonal, and most heavy-handed way to do something, you should put the federal government in charge of it. And it seems to be the CDF's goal to put the federal government as an essential part of the upbringing of every child, to make as many parents as possible dependent on Washington for all sorts of things that have traditionally been the responsibility of the parents or the local community.

My opinion was hardened by the abrupt closing of the Bill Clinton/Janet Reno Child Care Center in Waco, Texas on April 19, 1993. Saying that they were afraid that children were being abused, the federal government triggered a series of events that kept 21 children from potential abuse by the expedient solution of killing both the children and their potential abusers.


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Comments (14)

Jay, ATF agents went to the... (Below threshold)

Jay, ATF agents went to the compound with legally obtained warrants and were shot and murdered in cold blood. Now who is the terrorist supporter?

By the way, under your standards it was the parents responsibility to remove the children from danger and not the Federal governments, so you should be applauding the parents decision to sacrifice their children.

Linky linky, Barney.... (Below threshold)

Linky linky, Barney.
That's a pretty onesided recount of the opening minutes of the Waco siege.

He only kicks conservative ... (Below threshold)

He only kicks conservative puppies.

The other side of the stude... (Below threshold)

The other side of the student loan or grant coin is that the nation benefits from having talented people in professions that they may not have had without the government help. Ditto with head start. I get your responsibility argument and I went into the Navy to get my college money but now while we're at war the military is an option that parents of children who can afford college are not deciding to choose.

patrick,I could get ... (Below threshold)

I could get behind govt funding for useful programs, like many of the science degrees. The country benefits in an appreciable way from having engineers, scientists and even accountants.
But many of the arts degrees... not so much.

Knowing there are people li... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Knowing there are people like Sgt Timothy McVeigh watching, the federal government became much kinder and gentler in dealing with such groups following Waco. The Montana minutemen are one such example.

It's been my obser... (Below threshold)
It's been my observation that if you want to find the most inefficient, most ineffective, most impersonal, and most heavy-handed way to do something, you should put the federal government in charge of it.

Isn't this on page one of the democratic socialist manifesto?

Look at your points. These... (Below threshold)

Look at your points. These are ways to ease into socialism. The children. Nobody would vote against the children. However, the children grow up. They grow up and naturally look to the government for their wants. We end up with what France and Germany are trying their best to get away from. They found out it doesn't work.

Good job, Jay.... (Below threshold)

Good job, Jay.

The same thing is done for ... (Below threshold)

The same thing is done for "women's issues".

There is no disagreement about what policies benefit people, women or children, the most. All there is is supporting policies that help women or not supporting those policies. And those policies are welfare based, government based.

You either want to help women or you don't.

What I don't understand is ... (Below threshold)

What I don't understand is how they could use their votes to make these determinations. Hillary and Obama did not vote in four out of the ten you've listed. Haven't checked all of McCain's yet, but out of the last five he didn't vote in four.

All three voted more actively before their campaigns got hot and heavy, but the last quarter of the year they were all pretty much absent.

I wish I could read the pdf file but it locks up my browser when I try to download it.

Many Republicans scored ver... (Below threshold)
Blue Illini:

Many Republicans scored very well on this list. Dick Lugar earned an 80%. Three other GOP Senators earned a 70% rating. McCain's score is so low because he is out of step with the nation and even with his own party on issues that affect the lives and safety of children. Each and every siting Senator earned a higher score than McCain, Republican or Democrat.

If McCain is in step with your values, vote for him. If you are opposed to programs to make education affordable, insurance available, wages reasonable, and medicine safe then rally around John McCain.

You're attacking this non-partisan report because you like McCain. Go get 'em.

You're attacking this non-p... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

You're attacking this non-partisan report because you like McCain. Go get 'em.
Is Planned ParentHood a non-profit org and getting federal funding? If you care so much about children and the disabled, you would vote for the Dem. Obama vote against providing medical care for surviving aborted children. He regretted not intervening against Terri Schiavo (ie let her starve to death). Yup, I think you are like Obama, the champion of the culture of death - go get them the babies and the disabled.

Blue Ilini, your claim that... (Below threshold)

Blue Ilini, your claim that this report is "non-partisan" is a rather brazen falsehood. Matches the rest of your misrepresentations.






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