Leaders in the Missouri House defend their decision to spend a lot of time this session sending messages to Washington.
House Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet, a Republican from Wildwood, sponsors both, saying he pushed the measures after his constituents complained to him about spending in Washington.
“If we do not communicate what our constituents feel strongly about, then I think we could be accused of not doing our job,” Icet says. “This is a chance for us, elected officials in the state of Missouri, to communicate to our federal colleagues that inside the Beltway you may not hear this message loud and clear, but back home we do.”
Another resolution, HCR 18, passed earlier by the House, asks the Missouri Congressional delegation to vote against the federal health care overhaul bill.
Democrats in the Missouri House have harshly criticized the Republican majority for spending a lot of time this legislative session on measures that will have no effect. They say the House should be focused on more pressing issues that have a direct impact on the state. In addition, Democrats point out the political nature of the resolutions. Republicans control Jefferson City. Democrats control Washington. Democrats see the Republican concentration on resolutions aimed at Congress as purely political potshots.
House Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley, a Republican from Perryville, dismisses such criticism as well as the charge that Republicans in the Missouri House weren’t as anxious to tell Washington what to do with a fellow Republican, President Bush, resided in the White House. Tilley says conservative Republicans displayed their displeasure with Congressional Republicans at the ballot box in November.
Tilley has been gracious in his allotment of House floor time to debate and pass the measures; measures that even he admits likely won’t have an impact.
“You know, as far as them listening, they probably won’t listen. They’re probably arrogant enough to think that they know what’s best and I think they’ll do that at their own peril come November,” Tilley says.