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Congressman Tim Bishop

January 6, 2006 @ 12:00 am EST


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This morning we had Congressman Tim Bishop from the 1st Congressional District speak at LIMBA


He was asked to give a congressional update.


Mr. Bishop began with talking about unfinished business. He spoke about education cuts when asked about “no child left behind.” These cuts are having a detrimental impact on Long Island. He went on to say that these are real cuts, not due to inflation. The absolute number of $’s are down.


The Alternative Minimum Tax, which vexes many two earner families on Long Island, was not dealt with in the last session, while taxes cuts on high income people were enacted.


He discussed Pay-Go which was the system of budgeting that was agreed upon by president Clinton and his Republicn dominated congress. Basically no budget item could be introduced without a cut somewhere else. A discipline that has gone by the boards.


I began the questioning by taking Tim to task on how the congress gave away its constitutional right to declare war. Since the people’s House is the only body that can legitimately declare a war, why give that responsibility away, precluding in depth debate? He explained that the mood of the country was altered by memories of 9/11 and also by the {hyped} information that was given to the congress.


When asked about immigration policy, he was supportive of some kind of guest worker program.  The bill that passed the House would make 11 million people criminals. This bill has just about no chance of getting through the Senate.


Infrastructure bills include funds for the Brooklyn to New Jersey Tunnel. While this tunnel may be useful in the future it does nothing for us in the next 10 years.  East Side Access, the Second Avenue Subway funds were allocated too. This is good news for construction jobs and the future efficiency of transportation.


Bishop was somewhat critical of the energy bill which focuses on domestic drilling for oil. His criticism was centered on the simple fact that the US has only 2% of the know oil reserves and uses 25% of the oil in the world. In other words no matter how much you drill,  it-aint-gonna-happen. Mr. Bishop suggested that a “Manhattan” like project to solve energy needs is what we should be doing.


He spoke about Iraq and the prospects for success. His thoughts were less sanguine than the happy talk you get from the White House. He stated that he hoped that the Iraqi’s would be able to shoulder their own responsibilities by midyear, otherwise an uncontained civil war could be the results. A civil war that could spill over to Syria, Turkey and Iran.


There was very little said about the scandal that is presently unfolding in Washington. That’s probably just as well since there is so much more to know about that pot of swill.


When the meeting was adjourned Mr. Bishop gave a lot of time to those people who wanted to ask questions on a one to one basis.