Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gus Bilirakis Votes Against Transportation Bill - Hurts Airports, Roads & Housing

H R 3074 Recorded Vote
QUESTION: On Passage
BILL TITLE: Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations for FY 2008

Bilirakis - NO

H.R. 3074:
making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes

White House Threatens Veto of Transportation-HUD Bill

July 23, 2007 – 2:17 p.m.

As expected, the administration issued a veto threat Monday against the fiscal 2008 Transportation-Housing spending bill, denouncing its “irresponsible and excessive” spending level.

The $104 billion bill funding the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments (HR 3074) is $4.1 billion more than Bush requested and $5.9 billion more than enacted in fiscal 2007 (PL 110-5).

Bush has threatened to veto any spending bill that exceeds his fiscal 2008 budget request.

But members of the House Appropriations Transportation-HUD Subcommittee say the cuts the administration wants in this bill would mean underfunding the 2005 surface transportation law , which mandated specific spending levels each year.

Debate will begin Monday, but a vote on final passage is not expected until Tuesday.

Under the bill, highway programs would receive $40.2 billion, $1.1 billion more than enacted last year and $631,000 more than Bush requested. The Federal Aviation Administration would receive $14.6 billion, $140 million more than last year and $545 million more than requested.

The community development fund, which helps localities build housing in low-income areas, would receive $4.2 billion, $408 million more than last year and $1.1 billion more than Bush requested. HOPE VI, which funds revitalization of deteriorating public housing projects, would receive $120 million, which is $21 million more than last year; the administration had sought to eliminate the program.

CQ Today Midday Update

Political Clippings compiled from BNN Frontrunner and CQ

© 2007 Congressional Quarterly Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Congressmen Gus Bilirakis and C.W. "Bill" Young Have a Funny Way of Showing Support for Veterans

At some point, don't the most deluded GOP supporters understand that their party is all talk when it comes to helping those who have served our country?

Check out this headline:

"Injured Iraq vets sue VA over health care delays"

Can we please stop giving these false patriots credit for supporting the military?

Frustrated by delays in health care, a coalition of injured Iraq war veterans is accusing VA Secretary Jim Nicholson of breaking the law by denying them disability pay and mental health treatment.

The class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, filed Monday in federal court in San Francisco, seeks broad change in the agency as it struggles to meet growing demands from veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Suing on behalf of hundreds of thousands of veterans, it charges that the VA has failed warriors on several fronts — from providing prompt disability benefits, to adding staff to reduce wait times for medical care to boosting services for post-traumatic stress disorder.

...The lawsuit also accuses the VA of deliberately cheating some veterans by allegedly working with the Pentagon to misclassify PTSD claims as pre-existing personality disorders to avoid paying out benefits. The VA and Pentagon have generally denied such charges.

Please read the entire article. The Republican Party is morally bankrupt.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Occupation is as occupation does

I believe that the Congressman who represents the Republicans in my district has strayed off course. It seems to me that Gus Bilirakis needs to refocus his attention on our American military crisis and our fellow Americans dying in Iraq. So, for the sake of my military family members and the rest of our brave American troops, I felt the need to tweak and improve his latest press release. I am proposing that he re-submit his bill to Congress after he includes my corrections, adaptions and/or ammendments.

Remarks as edited and adapted by thefos for a reality check on our American military crisis due to the U.S. led Iraq Occupation:

Gus Bilirakis Commemorates the 33rd 4 ½ Anniversary of the Turkish U.S. Led Invasion of Cyprus Iraq

WASHINGTON (20 Jul.) -- Last night, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), member of House Foreign Affairs Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, delivered the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to commemorate the 33rd 4 1/2 anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus Iraq by U.S led Turkish military forces.

Gus Bilirakis' press release:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today not only as a privileged member of this body, but particularly as a Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues I want to use this honorable position to truly support our troops by ending the U.S. led Iraq occupation and bring them home safely to their beloved families. I also admit to my constituents and fellow American patriots, that we never should have taken our eyes off the ball. We never should have allowed the Bush Administration to divert our attention from Bin Laden and the terrorists who attacked us on September 11, 2001.

I stand before you today to recall an anniversary that has racked the Cypriot Iraqi and Hellenic American communities for the past 33 4 ½ years.

Mr. Speaker, even though the tragic events of the Turkish U.S. led invasion of Cyprus Iraq took place so 4 ½ long years ago, the pain and suffering of this tragic occasion still ripples throughout the Greek Iraqi and Cypriot American communities.

This anniversary is a time for America to solemnly remember the Turkish military U.S. led invasion of the Island of Cyprus Iraq, to mourn those who lost their lives, and to condemn the continued occupation.

On July 20, 1974, March 20, 2003, in blatant violation of international law, Turkey the U.S led coalition violently invaded Cyprus Iraq and captured the northern part of the island declared “Mission Accomplished on May 1, 2003. As a result of the invasion, approximately 5,000 Cypriots 60,000+ Iraqis were killed and more than 1,400 Greek Cypriots, including four Americans of Cypriot descent, who still remain missing along with 3632 American soldiers.

Since the invasion, Turkey the Bush/Cheney Administration has established a heavily-armed military occupation that continues to control nearly 40 percent of Cyprus is failing to control the civil war in Iraq. Forced expulsions of Greek Cypriots on the occupied land, have left more than 160,000 displaced persons. An estimated 1.6-2.0 million people have fled Iraq.

Another tragic result of this 33 4 ½ year occupation is the divisions among Greek Sunni and Turkish Cypriots Shi’a factions who since have forcibly lived their lives separated along ethnic lines are also targeting and killing brave American troops. This cracking of the Cypriot Iraq nation is a crime against society and the people of Cyprus Iraq that can only be resolved by ending this occupation.

Since the invasion, international governing bodies and human rights groups have condemned Turkey’s the Bush/Cheney Administration’s flagrant abuse of international law and violation of Cyprus’s Iraq’s national sovereignty. Mr. Speaker, 33 4 ½ years is just too long.

The international community and the American people have expressed their support for has helped shepherd a peace process and settlement that will unite the island, its people, institutions and economy. The United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States have all played key roles in trying to bring a practical and fair resolution of this 33 4 ½ year nightmare.

On the occasion of this anniversary, America needs to take a long and hard look at its own commitment toward helping the Turkish Cypriot Sunni-Shi’a crisis factions reach a lasting and enduring peace – free from occupation, division and oppression.

As a new member of the European Union, the Republic of Cyprus has proven a committed and America and Iraq must reach out to influential partner neighboring countries in Europe the Middle East. Despite having a Because a large portion of its land is illegally occupied, Cyprus’s Iraq’s successful social and economic integration into the European Global community is a testament to its focus and dedication to democratic values and regional cooperation has been violently deterred.

The Republic of Cyprus has also worked alongside its European neighbors to bring about a stronger integration of Turkish and Greek Cypriot interests for the good of the Island. This has included a partial lifting on restrictions of movement across the cease fire line that continues to forcibly divide Cyprus.

As a result, since April 2003, more than 13 million Greek and Turkish Cypriots have crossed without incident. Additionally, the per capita income of Turkish Cypriots has nearly tripled in the last three years because of an aggressive integration policy by the Republic of Cyprus and its European neighbors.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that because of this continued integration civil war between Turkish Sunni and Greek Cypriots Shi’a factions, and the economic and political successes failures of the democratically elected Iraqi government, that the Republic of Cyprus so readily wants to share with its neighbors, it is possible to we must bring closure to this 33 4 ½ year occupation.

Indeed, according to:, on July 8, 2006, the President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed to formally begin consultations with the ultimate aim of a peaceful reunification and an end to Turkey’s military occupation.
the White House appeared resigned to the fact that the Iraqi parliament is going to take August off, even though it has just eight weeks to show progress on military, political and economic benchmarks prescribed by the United States.

My understanding is at this juncture they're going to take August off, but, you know, they may change their minds,
White House press secretary Tony Snow said on Friday.
You know, it's 54 degree Celsius [130 degrees Fahrenheit] in Baghdad in August,
he said, sympathetically.

Our own US Congress plans to be on vacation from August 3 to September 4, 2007. Despite the early successes of what has since been known as the “July 8 Agreement,” and the best efforts of the Cyprus government, the Turkish Cypriots Our own government has have not followed through on their its commitment to continue this dialogue and path toward peace.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, only last week, President Papadopoulos attempted to jumpstart the Island’s reunification efforts and resume the July 8 Agreement process. Though he initially accepted this gesture, Turkish Cypriot leader Talat ended up cancelling the proposed meeting. the president of the United States, and this Congress, along with the Iraqi government, should demonstrate its commitment and support for the July 8 Agreement as a way toward ending the Turkish Cypriot divide on the Island of Cyprus our troops and the Iraqi people by voluntarily sacrificing any and all vacation time until a peaceful resolution has been reached. I have introduced legislation, H. Res. 405 Stop the Surge 3632, which expresses strong support for the implementation of the July 8 Agreement. ending the occupation in Iraq.

I urge all of my colleagues to act and help this body put our own stamp of support on the July 8 peace process by supporting this resolution.

Cyprus has long been a strong and faithful ally of the United States. It continues to work with us in the Global War on Terrorism and has supported our efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Aside from providing over flight rights and port access, the government of Cyprus has joined only a handful of nations who have acted on their commitment to cancel Iraq’s outstanding debt.

Mr. Speaker, 33 4 ½ years is long enough. It is not impossible to conceive one-day having a Cyprus Iraq that is unified under bi tri-zonal, bi tri communal federation with a single sovereignty, single international personality and single citizenship with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all Cypriots Iraqis, but the Iraqi government must bring these factions to the table using diplomacy instead of violence and oppression.

America, a friend of the Cypriot Iraqi people, owes it to them to do everything in their power to support peace and an end to this illegal occupation.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Grooming Cowards 101

Generation Chickenhawk: The Unauthorized College Republican National Convention Tour, Now On Youtube

Just posted it on Youtube. It’s yours:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bilirakis Blog open for business...PSYCH!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 at 1:25 pm and is filed under DHS, bilirakis, counterterrorism, GWOT, homeland security, al-qaeda, terrorism. You can subscribe via RSS 2.0 feed to this post's comments. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

It is now 11:19 PM. Were any comments permitted?

While Gus tries to instill fear in his constituents, what is Gus afraid of?

Maybe he is afraid of a mother of 5 or maybe Dramatic Chipmunk found Gus in the shower...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gus Bilirakis Thinks the Iraq War Is Worth More American Lives

In a 223 to 201 vote, the US House voted to begin redeploying our troops from Iraq within 120 days. Not surprisingly, Congressman Gus Bilirakis voted with the minority, proving once again that he cares more about protecting the Bush administration's failed policies, and a delusional president, than he cares about our American troops!

From the web site Congresspedia:

The Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act (H.R. 2956) was introduced by Armed Services Committee Chair Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) on July 10, 2007. The bill, similar to the Levin-Reed Senate measure, would require that the U.S. begin redeploying troops from Iraq within 120 days of the bill's passage. It would also require that the U.S. have a "limited presence" in Iraq by April 1, 2008. President Bush would need to submit a report to Congress outlining the specific goals of the remaining troops in Iraq, along with timetables for their completion.

Bush enablers like Gus Bilirakis deserve to be forever haunted by their continued support of this pointless war.

We can only hope that the voters in FL-9 will see through Bilirakis' superficial acts of kindness to veterans, and in 2008 demand a Congressman who will give our military the real support it needs. Bring the troops home NOW, Gus!!

Dramatic Chipmunk is watching Gus!

Dramatic Chipmunk is not happy that Gus Bilirakis is voting against our troops.

Dramatic Chipmunk will continue to keep his eyes on Gus Bilirakis' votes.

Gus Bilirakis Votes Against College Students & Middle Class Families

College Cost Reduction Act of 2007

QUESTION: On Passage

BILL TITLE: College Cost Reduction Act of 2007

Bilirakis - NO

And, of course, the White House Threatens to Veto:

Student Loan Reform Still Faces Obstacles

By Kimberly Palmer
US News and World Report

Posted 7/12/07

With House passage of the 2007 College Cost Reduction Act, student loan reform has moved one step closer to reality, but significant obstacles remain.

The House bill approved Wednesday would increase the maximum Pell grant for low-income students by $500 over the next four years to $5,200 in 2011, cut interest rates on need-based federal loans to 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent, and provide tuition breaks for students who commit to teaching in high-need public schools once they graduate. It would also partly forgive loans of graduates who take public-service jobs, including nurses, first responders, and school counselors.

The bill is the biggest change to college education financing since the 1944 GI Bill, says its sponsor, Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat who chairs the House Education Committee.

The Senate is likely to vote soon on a similar bill, which got committee approval in June. The Senate bill, sponsored by Ted Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Senate Education Committee, would raise the Pell grant an extra $200 by 2012 to $5,400 and doesn't include an interest-rate reduction on federal loans. Nor does it include tuition assistance for those who become public school teachers.

Both bills would cap the amount graduates pay on student loans each month at 15 percent of their discretionary income. Like the House version, the Senate bill would slash subsidies to lenders to pay for the changes.

Senate passage could land a version of the reform bill on President Bush's desk by September, but resistance to the proposed policy changes is growing. Bush's senior advisers said in a statement Tuesday they will recommend that the president veto the bill "because it fails to target the neediest students currently in college and creates new mandatory federal programs that are poorly designed and would have significant long-term costs to the taxpayer." The statement released by the Office of Management and Budget also says the proposed loan-forgiveness policies are an inefficient way to encourage graduates to go into certain professions.

America's Student Loan Providers, an industry group, opposes many of the reforms. It argues that the subsidy cuts would force lenders to wipe out interest rate discounts they now provide to borrowers. Kevin Bruns, the group's executive director, warns that the reduction in profits for loan companies would force some lenders to close up shop, reducing competition and options for students. Republican members of Congress have called the House bill fiscally irresponsible.

At the same time, student and other groups have backed the proposed reforms. The Project on Student Debt praised the House bill: "The combination of additional grant aid, increased availability of federal loans, and payment caps will help students avoid costly private loans and allow them to graduate from college less burdened by debt."

Monday, July 9, 2007

Gus Bilirakis Responds--Avoids Hypocrisy Charge!

From the St. Pete Times:

"I do not agree with President Bush's decision to fully commute Lewis Libby's prison sentence," Bilirakis said in a statement. "While commutation is perfectly within the President's constitutional discretion, Mr. Libby was tried by a jury of his peers and was convicted of a felony.

"The fact that Mr. Libby committed this crime while serving as a public official makes it all the more egregious. Excessive or not, Mr. Libby's sentence should be respected."

I guess Gus Bilirakis was caught between a rock and a hard place on this one. I think that our phone calls brought it to his staff's attention that he couldn't support Scooter Libby's "Get out of jail free card" so soon after his no amnesty statement about immigration.

I applaud Gus for his statement about Scooter Libby even though he buffered it with a nod to Bush's ability to abuse the U.S. Constitution any time he wants to.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My Call to Congressman Gus Bilirakis' Palm Harbor Office

I just got off the phone with Patty in Congressman Bilirakis' office. I asked her if he had made a statement about George Bush's communtation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence. Her response was that he hadn't made a statement yet. She then asked me, "What organization are you with?" I replied that I was a member of many organizations but that I was calling as a resident of Congressional District 9. I told her that I would like a call back when he made a statement. She took my contact information and again asked, "So you are calling for yourself?"

I got the feeling that Patty was expecting the call. Please let us know what response you get when you call the congressman's office.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Gus Bilirakis and Double Standards

Here's a statement that Congressman Gus Bilirakis made about the failed immigration bill last week:

“As an American, I do not accept this line of thinking. The reality is that amnesty is not an answer to this complex and endemic problem. As a nation of laws and a nation of legal immigrants, it is simply wrong to reward unlawful behavior with amnesty.

I wonder what Gus Bilirakis thinks about George Bush commuting the prison sentence of Scooter Libby. Is there a double standard at play here? Is there one standard for those who break the law by entering our country to seek a better life, and another standard for White House cronies who have broken the law at the behest of the administration? I urge you to call Congressman Bilirakis' office tomorrow and ask him.

Washington DC Office
ph: 202-225-5755

Temple Terrace Office
ph: 813-985-8541

Palm Harbor Office
ph: 727-773-2871