The "Temple" They've Defiled

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The "Temple" They've Defiled

Soon before the Senate yesterday rejected an attempt by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to slip ANWAR oil drilling into a defense appropriations bill, Stevens and Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) exchanged comments. The two senators, perhaps more than any of their colleagues, have mastered the game of raiding the federal treasury to deliver pork to their states -- frequently in the form of dubious projects.

According to the Washington Post:
It was quite a bull session between two old bulls.

Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, battered all week for using the defense spending bill to force through a home-state oil drilling provision, delivered an emotional plea to his colleagues as the Senate prepared to vote on the legislation.

"I ask every one of you, have you ever come to me as chairman of appropriations and tell me you needed help for your state and I have turned you down?" implored the Republican, who [once chaired] the Senate Appropriations Committee ...

If Stevens has an equal in logrolling, it is Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia. But the veteran Democrat, another former appropriations chairman, would have none of the drilling maneuver and charged that Stevens was breaking Senate rules.

... Byrd and Stevens -- their collective age is 170 -- are masters of the legislative game as well as melodramatic floor speech. They know every nook and cranny of the Senate rulebook -- a malleable text, if yesterday's debate was any guide.

... "My remarks today do not reflect upon [Stevens] or upon his efforts in regard to the people he represents," Byrd continued, thunder clouds gathering in his voice. "I abhor, I abhor this idea. Shame. If such a scheme were carried into effect, it could seriously impair the Senate rules."

... "I came here and swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and I would die upholding that oath," Byrd vowed.

Stevens concurred, at least in his reverence for the Senate. "As my good friend from West Virginia says, we're in a temple. We're in the temple. I've lived in the temple for 37 years," said Stevens ...
Yes, and like the Biblical money-changers, they've done their best to defile that temple through pork-barrel schemes and slick legislative maneuvers.

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