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Labrador: ‘If being fiscally responsible is extreme and crazy, then I am’

Freshman Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador appeared on CNN's "Situation Room" program just now, in a panel along with three other tea party-backed freshman Republicans, Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle of New York, Tom Graves of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona. CNN said it picked "one from each corner of the country," and was surprised to find the four split on tomorrow's budget-cuts vote: Two plan to vote in favor, one against, and Labrador is leaning against.

Labrador agreed with the others that the freshmen have made a difference, and helped bump up the level of cuts that now is being contemplated - though they want more. "When we started the debate, the initial offer was $31 billion in cuts. Some of us spoke up and said that it needed to be more," he told the program. "So we actually got it to $61 billion in cuts. And now we're getting $38, $39 billion in cuts. We're going to vote against these things, but I think we would have had much less."

At the close of the interview, the four were asked, "So are you crazy, or are you really the sanest people in America?" Labrador responded, "If being fiscally responsible is extreme and crazy, then I think I am."

WSJ: Crapo Key In Deficit Deal

Idaho's senior lawmaker is the subject of a story in Friday's Wall Street Journal, which says Crapo is working with three other senators who joined him in voting for the deficit commission's recommendations in December. "We are beyond the point of gridlock," Crapo told the Journal. "We can't simply allow parochial interests or other narrow interests to prevent action. We need to start taking major steps to address our debt problems." The Journal's Corey Boles writes that Crapo has been drawn "into the limelight from what had previously been a low-key congressional career"/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: We haven't discussed U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo much at Huckleberries Online. What's your impression of him and his work for Idaho?

Has the budget deficit grabbed our attention?

Alice Rivlin, former budget director for President Clinton, has been probably the most outspoken Democrat in recent years about the need to deal with the federal budget deficit.  In a commentary from the Brookings Institute's website, she sounds hopeful that bipartisan progress could be made in the coming year.

Do you share her optimism?

Kiss National Parks goodbye…

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey seems to hit the bulls eye once again, with this morning’s cartoon about Obama cutting the National Deficit. While I freely admit I was unaware that one of the cuts on the fiscal chopping block was the National Parks, I have been aware that, year by year, the budgets for National Parks and the U.S. Forest Service, have been steadily eroding. Somehow, it just stands to reason: they do not have nearly so many nor as powerful a group of lobbyists in Washington, DC as do say the Pentagon nor various well-heeled entitlements.

I hail from a generation of increasingly gray-bearded old-timers who remember when the public lands were celebrated, revered and treated with respect. We rode horses on what amounted to National Parks in those days, hiked and swam in the waters where few ever passed since the time the Red Man lived openly upon the land. Even as recently as two decades ago, I rode horseback through a portion of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, not seeing lights nor human habitation for three entire days and sleeping beneath the stars at night.

We are blessed with having a rich, vibrant legacy of wilderness lands in the Pacific Northwest, but if they are further cutting funding for the National Parks, what is next?

Remember, our nation has to pay for simultaneously waging two wars and we have to eventually pay for that, despite our current proclivity for deficit spending.