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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Kline Record: June 2004

June 2004 was a relatively busy month for John Kline. I'll paste in most of the floor speeches he gave, but here's the summary:

  • June 2: Decried $336 million of waste in the Pell Grant program, and called for stricter oversight (I imagine I'll have more to say about this later).
  • June 2: Paid tribute to Jim Hergott, the first Minnesotan killed in battle in Iraq. Private Hergott fell in July 2003, so one has to wonder why Kline waited nearly a year to provide this tribute.
  • June 8: Acted as Speaker Pro Tem once again.
  • June 9: Paid tribute to Ronald Reagan after Reagan's death.
  • June 22: Paid tribute to the University of Minnesota Women's hockey team for their National Championship.

Once again, I have to point out: this is hardly meat-and-potatoes legislating. Apart from the Pell Grant stuff, none of this has anything to do with governing the country, and although it's good to root out and eliminate wasteful government spending, that's hardly central to making America a better place to live.

I'm roughly halfway through Kline's congressional record now, and it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the guy's a lightweight; a man who enjoys making the ceremonial gestures expected of a member of Congress, but not truly interested in nuts and bolts legislating.

Which, I would argue, is another reason to send someone else to Washington this November.

Anyway, here are the speeches he gave in June. First, on waste in the Pell Grant program:

Mr. Speaker, as another member of the Washington Waste Watchers, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight just one example of what we are now learning to be the vast amount of waste throughout our Federal Government. Unfortunately, no Federal agency is immune to this waste, even those that are implementing the Nation's most important Federal programs.

One particularly troubling example of waste is found within the Pell grant program. $336 million in Pell grants were improperly dispersed to applicants that understated their income in 2001. Let me be clear, American taxpayers spent $336 million in Pell grants for applicants that were not eligible.

Not only does this represent a terrible misuse of taxpayer dollars, the expenditure of these funds denies the legitimate financial assistance provided by Pell grants to the thousands of students who truly need and deserve this help.

Mr. Speaker, we belong to a Congress that has brought unprecedented increases in Federal funding to our schools. Yet the administrators in my district continue to ask why have I not seen that money. I should not have to report to the administrators, teachers, and parents in Minnesota that the money they need to provide the quality education our children deserve is not available because it has been wasted by an inattentive Federal bureaucracy.

We have got to put an end to this harmful waste. Unfortunately, some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would prefer to ignore this waste and simply complain about, quote, lack of funding for Pell grants. Rather than crack down on the ineffective bureaucracy responsible for this waste, they would like to create more funds by raising taxes on hard-working American families.

My colleagues and I in the Washington Waste Watchers have a more responsible approach. It begins with eliminating the waste in government spending and creating more efficiency in Federal programs.

The budgets passed by the House Republicans both last year and this year make great progress toward our goal of eliminating waste. Last year's budget led to a report that highlighted between $85 and $100 billion of wasteful spending. This year's budget instructed committees to reduce or eliminate the most egregious examples of waste.

Mr. Speaker, American taxpayers deserve better than to have their hard-earned paychecks squandered by an irresponsible bureaucracy in Washington. I ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to join us in creating a better Federal Government, not making it bigger through more tax increases, but helping us to expand services for those who truly need them by eliminating the waste.

Here's his tribute to Private Jim Hergott:

  • Mr. Speaker, on this Memorial Day we honor the sacrifices of a new generation of heroes who gave their lives unselfishly for the safety and security of our Nation and our world.
  • Private Jim Hergott is one of these brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of democracy, freedom, and liberty.
  • Last July, Private Jim Hergott became the first Minnesotan killed in action in Iraq. A graduate of Shakopee High School, Private Hergott was struck by a sniper while guarding the National Building Museum in Baghdad.
  • Private Hergott has set an example of service to which few will be called and for which all are grateful. Jim Hergott will be missed, but his contributions endure.
  • We enjoy the blessings of living in America as a result of men and women throughout our Nation's history who toiled, sacrificed, and struggled to ensure we would have an unparalleled quality of life.
  • These blessings remain with us today as a result of the men and women who continue to toil, struggle, and sacrifice on our behalf.
  • We owe a debt of gratitude to Private Hergott and all of the fallen heroes of this generation and those who came before. I ask you to join me in honoring Private Hergott and remembering his fellow heroes to whom we owe so much.

Finally, here's his speech eulogizing Ronald Reagan:

Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to rise and join my colleagues in expressing my love and admiration and respect for President Ronald Reagan. I very much appreciate that here on the House floor last night and today colleagues from both sides of the aisle have stepped up to express their respects. I think that is an important thing. It is an indicator of what a truly great man, a great President, a great leader we had in Ronald Reagan.

Those of us who had the privilege and honor of working closely with President Reagan, and I was very fortunate that in his first months in office I had the position of being his Marine Corps aid and carrying the nuclear football, the codes, traveling with him, and having the opportunity to share some thoughts, it usually was him sharing the thoughts and me listening in rapt attention, but what a wonderful man.

When you were with and near Ronald Reagan, it really was morning in America. I never knew any one of us who worked with him or anyone who was in his presence that could not feel his love for life, his love for our country, his unstoppable optimism. And on the one hand he was, as we have heard many of our colleagues say, friendly, loveable, affable, ready with the joke; and on the other hand he was truly a man of steel.

He had a wonderful vision for America, a vision as he articulated of a city on the hill, a beacon of hope and opportunity for the world. And his resolute determination that we would not continue in the impossible impasse of the Cold War, the very Cold War that necessitated me and my colleagues to carry those nuclear codes; he refused to accept that as inevitable and he set out with the determination that is hard to imagine today, to end that impasse, to win the war, to defeat the Evil Empire. I was proud to serve with him.

I just want to express my love to him and my love to his family.


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