Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry boasted recently that, if elected, he’ll reform Washington by creating a “part-time, citizen Congress," cutting Congressional pay in half, slashing Congressional staff budgets, and allowing senators and representatives to hold jobs back home while serving in Congress.
Hooray for Rick Perry! That’s definitely the smartest thing I’ve heard him say since he declared his candidacy. I’ve always thought that Congress should be a part time job. Too bad for him, however, that it can’t possibly happen without a constitutional amendment, and fat chance for that.
Democratic Congressman, and House Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer, characterized Perry’s talk as “not serious” and “an attempt to pander to the Tea Party."
Perry, a career politician, shot back calling Hoyer’s comments exactly what he would expect to hear from a "career politician."
"When people like Steny Hoyer come out there and go, 'Is this guy being serious?' Yeah, you better believe it Steny. Americans are serious. They're serious about the spending that's going on," Perry told Sean Hannity this week on Hannity’s radio show.
Well, a few Americans like you and I might be serious about wanting to cut spending, but it’s a sure thing that Rick Perry isn’t.
Perry loves to criticize government spending at every opportunity while out on the campaign trail, but sadly, the facts show that he’s spent 11 years as the governor of Texas seeking money from Washington to spend.
"He's 'keep the federal government out of our business' and 'everything from Washington is terrible,' and then he is quietly getting as much money as he can," said Jim Dunnam, a former Democratic state representative who once headed a House committee that tracked federal stimulus money sent to Texas.
Perry has made 1,180 requests for federal aid since 2001, according to the Associated Press, which means he’s sent letters seeking money from Washington at a rate of about one every four days.
Perry asked for a federal bailout in April 2003 for American Airlines, headquartered in Dallas, and another one for Continental, based in Houston. He landed more than $100 million from the feds to protect against drug violence and illegal immigration on the Mexican border. He asked for and received $24.2 billion in stimulus funding for Texas while saying the program was bad federal policy.
He begged federal officials not to scale back the B-1, F-22 Raptor or C-17 fighter-jet projects, or NASA's manned space exploration programs which are all economically related and vital to Texas' Air Force bases and the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
He took $78 million in federal Justice Department grants for the border region between 2006 and 2010, and $624 million under the Homeland Security Grant Program since 2005. He also defended a federal program for imprisoning illegal-immigrant felons in May 2009 when the Obama administration wanted to scrap the program's funding.
He asked for money for bio terrorism preparedness at Texas hospitals; more money for state scientists mapping the bovine genome; more for port improvements statewide; and even more for border sheriffs who wanted better communications systems.
During his tenure, Texas has ranked in the top quarter of states in federal funds received per capita, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Federal funds accounted for between 29 and 35 percent of the Texas state budget between 2000 and 2009. Add stimulus money and the percentage approached 40% in fiscal year 2010.
He asked for emergency federal aid for victims of wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, flooding and crop-killing heat waves and freezes in his state's 254 counties. Texans hit by natural disasters "deserve a more immediate, compassionate response from their federal government," he wrote in a letter to Washington complaining that the Housing and Urban Development Department was slow in aiding hurricane victims.
Perry says he opposes the Obamacare overhaul, yet Texas has received $56.9 million in Health and Human Services Department grants as part of it. He wrote a letter to Washington in August 2010 supporting a $1 million federal grant proposal that Texas wanted to explore setting up a related statewide health care exchange. He also endorsed his state's request for money under Obamacare, though he now promises to help repeal Obamacare if elected.
And now he promises “to make the federal government as inconsequential in peoples' lives as possible.”
"I'm going to show up in Washington, D.C., with a sledgehammer, and they're not going to like it,” Rick Perry bragged this week in Iowa.
No he’s not. If he simply sticks to his own track record as governor of Texas he’ll be spending just as much or more as president than all the other lying prevaricating politicians before him.
Everything he says to get elected now amounts to little more than political Perry puffery.