12 July 2007

Courtney Fails to Deliver on Simmons Agenda

One term Rep. Joe Courtney of the Second District failed to deliver on his ongoing pursuit of the Rob Simmons agenda last night, as Courtney was unable to muster enough support to pass the Eightmile Wild and Scenic River Act to protect the pristine environment of that river. The bill, H.R. 986, required a 2/3 majority to pass, under suspension of the rules, mustered only 239 votes.

Rep. Courtney failed to sufficiently answer the questions raised by Republican Members of Congress regarding the bill's implications for the rights of private property rights. Connecticut Republican Congressman Christopher Shays of the Fourth District was supportive of Wild and Scenic Status for the Eightmile. But with Mr. Courtney hailing from the Congressional District that inspired the Kelo v. New London case, neglecting to effectively respond to these criticisms was a death penalty for the otherwise nubile bill. Mr. Courtney's Democrat Leadership, however, may grant a reprieve for the bill, and bring it up under general rules that would allow for a simple majority to pass the bill.

After much heated and overblown criticism during the 2006 campaign season of former Congressman Rob Simmons' agenda in Congress, Mr. Courtney has continued to press that same agenda. Simmons, of course, was a champion for getting the U.S. Navy to buy two submarines a year - Courtney has tried to take that mantle for himself. Simmons successfully secured the first authorization for the funding of a second submarine - Courtney criticized the action at the time. Courtney's Leadership has permitted the authorization this year as a boost to Courtney's re-election efforts. It was Simmons, a combat veteran of Vietnam, who led the fight for improved services for veterans. Courtney has seen fit to parrot Rob on the issue. Moving forward again on Route 11 was something that Simmons kickstarted after literally decades of bureaucratic languish. Courtney has borrowed the Simmons agenda there, too.

After having 'cut and pasted' the Simmons 'Eightmile' bill (H.R. 5885, 109th Congress) and put his own name on it, Rep. Courtney is unable to get the job done in Congress for the people of the Second District. He didn't answer the critics and cannot effectively make the case for his position. That's a bad report card for 'the Freshman'.