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Eye On Boise

MONDAY, SEPT. 29, 2008, 8:37 A.M.

Crapo votes against bill after claiming credit

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo voted against the big appropriations bill in the Senate over the weekend, after touting the millions in North Idaho research projects that he helped get included in the bill. Crapo released this statement:

“Congress has once again failed to fulfill its Constitutional responsibility to fund the federal government. This bill is a stop-gap and isn’t a responsible way to fund the critical programs of the government. It was presented as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, and the American public deserves better than that. We voted this afternoon on a ‘must-pass’ omnibus bill, with no opportunities for amendment or debate. It is a bill brought up for expediency’s sake, and it avoided all the hallmarks of good legislation. It has been rushed through in an effort to avoid debate over the separate appropriations measures, and I cannot support this type of process. While it is imperative that we make certain that the federal government and its programs are properly funded, this is not the way to do that. My ‘no’ vote demonstrates my concern over how this legislation has been handled and reinforced my belief in having a full and open debate over the measures that come before Congress.”

The spending bill, which funds everything from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security in 2009 to veterans affairs, loans to auto manufacturers and home heating assistance for the low-income, passed the Senate on Saturday on a 78-12 vote. Two days earlier, Crapo joined Idaho Sen. Larry Craig and 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson in touting the millions in high-tech defense research projects the bill funds in North Idaho. Crapo said then, “It is rewarding to see that Congress is, once again, recognizing the important national security contributions made by Idaho universities, research entities and businesses. These critical projects are among the most cutting-edge research efforts anywhere in the country.”

He personally brought two of those North Idaho projects to the table for consideration: A $2 million appropriation for Unitech Composites Inc. in Hayden to develop and provide the Army with lighter compressed air canisters for helicopters, and $1 million for Alliant Techsystems (ATK) of Lewiston, formerly Blount, to develop lighter-weight aluminum cartridges for ammunition for use by the Army.

Idaho Sen. Larry Craig voted in favor of the bill, as did 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson. 1st District Rep. Bill Sali voted against it, and didn’t sign on to the news release with the other three delegation members touting the North Idaho projects, which also include millions for research at the University of Idaho and the U.S. Navy installation at Bayview.

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.