The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved an amendment by Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, that would prevent President Barack Obama recess appointees in a few agencies from getting paid.
Landry has been in a battle with the administration about the recess appointments the president can make when Congress is adjourned.
Landry convinced House leadership to remain in session over the Fourth of July recess to prevent any administration appointees and wants to do the same for the upcoming summer break.
The amendment would affect any recess appointments at the Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Bureau of Land Management.
Landry quoted former Sen. William Fessenden, R-Maine, who offered a similar amendment in 1864.
“It may not be in our power to prevent the appointment, but it is in our power to prevent the payment, and when the payment is prevented, I think it will probably put an end to the habit of making such appointments,” Landry repeated.
The House approved the measure, 227-193.
Bipartisan coastal money OK’d
Reps. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, and Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, recently secured $1 million for coastal restoration projects.
The approval came four days after the House rejected an amendment that would have included $35.8 million recommended by President Barack Obama.
Pushing the amendment on the House floor, Scalise held up a football to accentuate that Louisiana loses a football field of wetlands every hour to coastal erosion. Scalise also told colleagues a third of the nation’s gas and oil energy flows through the state.
“This is a national issue,” Scalise said. “We’re talking about something that protects and serves the entire country.”
Richmond was able to corral Democratic support for the measure, Scalise said. Richmond noted that the coastal issue also affects the nation’s seafood supply and storm protection in the state. “If one block of New York city disappeared every hour, the nation would be outraged,” Richmond said.
Garret Graves, chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, hailed the money.
Over a dozen critical restoration projects were authorized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers but have not begun, Graves said.
“The Scalise-Richmond amendment is a great step that will finally break the bureaucratic barrier that has prevented the restoration of our coast,” Graves said in a statement.
Vitter opposes $1 coin
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., introduced a bill last week to terminate the $1 presidential coin by repealing the Presidential Dollar Coin Act of 2005.
The move would save millions in taxpayer dollars, Vitter said. “Even though many in Congress, including myself, hoped that dollar coins would eventually save taxpayers money, it’s turned out to be one of those unnecessary and, quite frankly, wasteful programs that we should eliminate,” Vitter said.
“Banks and credit unions are increasingly returning the dollar coins to the Federal Reserve because people don’t want them and aren’t using them,” Vitter added.
Congressmen raise big money
Reps. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, and Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, showed strong fundraising for the beginning of the year, with each now having $1 million in their campaign bank accounts, according to recent financial disclosures.
Cassidy raised $238,000 over the first three months of the year, giving him $1.2 million in campaign funds. Boustany raised $474,000 pushing him to $1 million.
The Boustany figures are important because he has been placed in the same district as Landry under new reapportionment lines.
Landry raised $94,527, giving him $190,904 in his campaign account. Landry has had to
pay back loans from his recent campaign, which included a tough primary, runoff and general election.
Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, raised $318,500, giving him $251,300 remaining. Scalise collected $202,800, giving him $545,000 in the bank.
Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, has $399,000 after gaining $199,000 in the first quarter.
Richmond raised $117,200, giving him $135,900.
Compiled by Gerard Shields, chief of The Advocate’s Washington bureau. His email address is GerardShields@theadvocate.com.