Rep. Elton Gallegly has been representing this district in Congress for more than a generation. He has won election every two years without having to really break a sweat. His votes are predictable, which means he has a clear set of priorities, but when looking at his voting pattern for 2011, a few inconsistencies arise.
Apparently, even very conservative Republicans can find exceptions to their own rules about fiscal responsibility—exceptions such as supporting federal funding of corporate interests at the expense of public health, women and students.
In the space of less than three months, Gallegly voted six different times to reduce or eliminate funds to aid those in need of health care. In February, he voted to eliminate all public funding of Planned Parenthood. May I remind the male opponents of abortion that without their gender’s full and mindful participation, there would never be a need to terminate a pregnancy.
But women’s health is a lot more than pregnancy. Most women use their gynecologist, public or private, as their primary physician and their first line of defense for health. It is there they have their blood pressure measured, their cholesterol monitored, their first symptoms tended. Gallegly voted to eliminate Planned Parenthood but offered no alternative for their patients across the country. Yes, even men were welcome there for health care.
In April, Gallegly voted for repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund. This month, he voted for repealing the State Health Benefit Exchanges. The following day, Gallegly voted for prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion. This, when way back in the 1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court held that poor women did not have a right to have access to a safe abortion if they could not afford it. That same day, he voted for repealing funding for school-based health center construction. Nope, not enough money in the pot for that. After all, the country is broke, isn’t it?
Well, that depends on your priorities for the precious few dollars that are handed out. Apparently, NASCAR and for-profit schools are Gallegly’s priorities over the needs of his constituents. Both of those corporate interests had a very good day on February 18.
Gallegly voted for an amendment that prohibits funds for the Gainful Employment Rule. That amendment, according to Project Vote Smart, “prohibits federal funding for implementation, administration or enforcement of certain Department of Education regulations that include, but not limited to, rules restricting federal financial aid to students at for-profit colleges.” In other words, he voted to use public funds to support the for-profit institutions which have been responsible for the lion’s share of defaults on federal student loans, costing taxpayers money and leaving students deeply in debt and without a college degree.
On that same day, Gallegly voted against prohibiting the use of federal funds for NASCAR sponsorships. Project Vote Smart said this bill “prohibits the use of public funds for the Department of Defense sponsorship of NASCAR race cars.” Enough said on that one.
Finally, aside from voting to eliminate all federal funding for National Public Radio and supporting bills to terminate the Neighborhood Stability Program, terminate the Federal Housing Administration Refinance Program, and terminate the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program, Gallegly found the time and interest to meddle in the local school affairs of Washington, D.C. by voting for school vouchers in that city.
Surprised? Satisfied? Just saying.