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Setting The Record Straight In The Sandy Adams/John Mica Primary Battle

MicaAdamsInterestingly, 20-yr incumbent Rep. John Mica’s campaign tag line directed at his primary opponent, freshman Congresswoman Sandy Adams, is ‘Rhetoric, not Results‘. A suggestion that, with his many years in Washington, D.C., he is in better position to generate results for CD7 voters.

At the same time, his most recent jab at Adams makes the following claims;

Voted to Spend Barack Obama’s Stimulus
Requested over $129 Million in Earmarks
Voted to Raise the Debt Ceiling
Playing Politics with Your Transportation Bill

So, playing along with the established theme of the Mica campaign, let’s take an honest look at what is rhetoric and what is actual results. I will source as much of the information as possible to address the inevitable claims of an agenda. The real agenda is an attempt to arrive at the truth.


Voted to Spend Barack Obama’s Stimulus

The Florida House approved the state’s $66.5 billion budget in 2009, which included more than $4.5 Billion in stimulus money, by a 75-43 vote. It was a strict party line vote with every Republican member, to include Sandy Adams, “voting to spend Barack Obama’s stimulus.”

A process that was repeated in all fifty states that year, with the possible exception of one or two. So, if Mica is pointing to this as a derogatory action, one would naturally assume that he was opposed to the spending of the stimulus money. Right?

As reported in Politico, nine GOP House members from Florida, to include Rep. John Mica, all of whom voted ‘No’ on the stimulus bill, joined nine of their Democratic colleagues, all of whom voted ‘Yes’, in asking the feds to grant a waiver giving them access to, you guessed it, hundreds of millions in state stabilization stimulus cash.

As reported in the NY Times, just hours after voting against the stimulus, Rep. John Mica sent out press releases lauding the designation of $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, including one in Florida.

“I applaud President Obama’s recognition that high-speed rail should be part of America’s future,” Mica said on Feb. 13, 2009.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” Mica added in reference to the Central Florida Commuter Rail project SunRail.

And in the video below, you will find Rep. Mica on the House floor in July 2009 complaining about the slow release of stimulus funds;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptDUFKIXXyA&feature=player_embedded

Requested over $129 Million in Earmarks

What is critical in evaluating this charge is determining what is an earmark. As a Congresswoman, Adams has not requested any earmarks. In fact, she is leading an effort to galvanize rank-and-file members to declare their public support for a permanent earmark ban – 57 members were willing to go on record in support for a permanent ban in the form of a letter to House GOP leadership.

John Mica is not one of the 57 members… he has actually made overtures that indicate he is interested in a return to earmarks.

So the claim that she “requested $129 million in earmarks” can only be based on her 8 years in Tallahassee as a state representative. The problem is, technically, there are no earmarks in the Florida legislative process.

An earmark is a spending measure that is inserted into a bill, air-dropped may be a more accurate description, and is done so with little to no discussion or oversight. The purpose of earmarks are to ‘sweeten’ a piece of legislation to help garner the needed votes to pass it. ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ come to mind?

In the state of Florida, members submit Community Budget Issue Requests (CBIR) that go through an extensive process before being signed into law. There’s transparency all the way through the process, as well as total oversight.

A CBIR generally starts when a request is made to a county delegation by a not for profit or for profit business or local government entity. The request is discussed in a hearing by these members and then moves on to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee, where it must survive a vote before being inserted into the budget. These requests can be tracked and are open to the public for review all the way through the process.

Most importantly, CBIR’s are placed in the budget as line items, meaning the Governor can veto them individually. In Adams case, as the chair of the Volusia, Seminole and Orange county delegations at different times, she would have submitted CBIR’s on behalf of the delegation members, or may have been part of a group submitting a CBIR. All of which would be included in the $129 million referenced by the Mica campaign – over an eight year period.

So did Adams actually “requested over $129 million in earmarks”? Not exactly.

As for Mica highlighting this action as derogatory, one would naturally assume he is opposed to earmarks. Right?

Mica, who was named ‘Porker of the Month’ by Citizens Against Government Waste, said in July 2008, “There’s no way in hell I would support banning earmarks“. In his 20 year career, it is estimated that Mica has requested upwards to $4 Billion in earmarks. That’s billion with a B.

Voted to Raise the Debt Ceiling

Rep. Adams did vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling last August. However, it would be remiss not to note that for the first time in U.S. history, corresponding spending cuts were tied into the increase. A measure that was a direct product of the freshman class elected in 2010, to include Sandy Adams. The agreement called for up to $2.4 trillion in savings over the next decade.

Once again, Mica points to Adams “voting to raise the debt ceiling” as a derogatory action, so we must assume that Mica voted against the increase. Right?

Uhm… no.

Mica also voted to increase the debt ceiling. Interestingly, he touts in his TV ad that he voted twelve times against a debt ceiling increase, yet fails to mention the multiple times he voted for an increase (I count 5 times, but sourcing is spotty). All in all, Mica voted a straight party line, voting against Democrat led increases and supporting GOP led increases. Not quite as fiscally revolutionary as he leads you to believe.

Ultimately, the numbers show that when John Mica was first sworn in as a freshman Congressman in January ’93, our national debt stood at $4.4 Trillion. Today it stands at $15.8 Trillion and counting.

Playing Politics with Your Transportation Bill

This claim is undoubtedly based on comments Adams made on the passing of the transportation bill that she voted against; “Congress needs major reforms, and my opponent’s decision to author a budget busting bill that spends more than it takes in flies in the face of the dire financial situation facing our nation.”

If Mica’s claim is true, then we must ask if Sen. Marco Rubio is also “playing politics”? Rubio too voted against the bill and said upon it’s passing;

“…while it contains some policies I support and that are good for Florida and our nation, as a whole, the bill spends too much and relies on budget gimmicks as spending offsets that will ultimately lead to a federal bailout down the road.”

In addition, the highly respected Heritage Foundation stated; “The bill spends too much, and to pay for this overspending, it contains transfers from the general fund, which are themselves paid for through new revenue streams. Some of the policy changes that yield new revenues are unacceptable, but beyond that, new revenue should not be used for new spending.”

The bill allocates $105 billion in transportation spending over two years, while the measures designed to pay for it are stretched out over ten years – assuming all future Congresses leave everything intact.

A little mentioned fact about this bill is that it includes a tax increase. Yes, a tax increase via more government regulation on the ‘roll-your-own’ cigarette industry. So large it threatens to eliminate the industry all together.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that interest in roll-your-own smokes has grown since ’09 after a federal excise tax on tobacco rose dramatically, affecting the price of packaged cigarettes. Roll-your-own shops use loose pipe tobacco, which was less affected by the tax hike.

“This bill is going to put a lot of people out of work,” one owner said. “And now there’s going to be even more empty retail space in shopping centers.”

So is Adams playing politics here, or is she remaining consistent in her convictions to oppose excessive government spending and over-regulation that continues to harm our economy?

AND, Mica took part in the signing ceremony at the White House on Friday, the only Republican lawmaker providing a willing backdrop for Obama, then releases a statement AFTERWARDS condemning the ceremony HE PARTICIPATED IN.  So who’s playing politics here?

Summary

In analyzing the four charges against Adams, it’s clear that the Mica campaign is playing fast and loose with the facts. While I openly back Adams in this race, the evidence supporting this is right here for all to see.

Mica presents select information on himself and distorts the facts on his opponent, comfortable in both his position as a ranking elected official and in his sizable financial advantage of pulling it off.

While some will say this is just politics, I submit it is a disservice to the residents of CD7. Put the truth before the voters with the understanding that voters are smart enough to discern for themselves who best represents their interests.

Or is John Mica so caught up in the status quo that defines the political class in America that he’s counting on voter ignorance to carry the day. We’ll find out on August 14th.

Cross-posted at Florida Political Press

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