Isn’t it funny that when the shoe is on the other foot Republicans who often fault their opponents with being “sue-happy” are now the ones threatening to go to court if Congress passes HR 1586 this Tuesday – something that they are sure to do.
Republicans, you see, take great pride in their accomplishments over people who get their grievances settled in court, even to the extent of passing torte reform legislation that limits the award a person may receive if they win their lawsuit.
They are actually proud of that.
But now, with Lloyd Doggett’s insertion in the bill of a special consideration that applies only to Texas, Rick Perry and now David Dewhurst have cried foul. In a statement released from San Diego, where Perry continued his luxurious vacation, Perry said this:
Explaining this twist of logic, further on down . . .“Washington is deft at placing targets on the backs of Texans, and this proposal paints a target on our school teachers and school children.”
And yesterday Dewhurst threatened to sue. From the Texas Tribune:“Following similar efforts by House Democrats last month, the U.S. Senate has added language to the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (H.R. 1586) that effectively kills about $800 million in federal funding for Texas schools. This amendment mandates that the governor guarantee the Legislature will provide a certain level of state funding through 2013, a funding scheme prohibited by the Texas Constitution. It will be at least June 1, 2011, before the Legislature passes and the Comptroller certifies the 2012-2013 budget. That means Texas – the only state singled out with this mandate – might not be able to use any of these funds provided to states.”
“If ‘the Doggett language’ is passed, Dewhurst says he ‘will be delighted to be a named plaintiff’ in a lawsuit against the federal government.”
So let me get this straight. Texas teachers and schoolchildren are the ones who have standing in this lawsuit, according to Perry. But Dewhurst thinks he should be named as plaintiff.
Dewhurst has it right. Yes, he (and Perry) should be plaintiffs because “the Doggett language” is basically a salvo fired right over the bows of the SS Perry and SS Dewhurst. They were singled out for a well-deserved public slap down. You don’t take $3.2 billion in federal stimulus money, money earmarked to improve education spending in Texas, and simply switch it out with state funds that were already allocated for education, taking the whole purpose of stimulation and turning it into a joke. You don’t do that and not expect repercussions.
Perry’s ginned up excuse for how this move harms Texas teachers and schoolchildren is just his attempt to take the target that was affixed firmly to the back of his business suit and place it instead on Texas’s teachers and students.
This is clearly reflected in Lloyd Doggett’s reply to Perry’s disingenuous remarks:
“Compliance is very easy, unless there remains a hidden Republican agenda to avoid accountability and to engage in more of the shenanigans of last year, which replaced state education dollars with federal dollars, leaving our schools no better off than if we had done nothing. Instead of concocting phony legalistic arguments to deny our local schools the funds that they so desperately need, Gov. Perry should join with us in support of public education.”
Whipping up specious arguments and threatening to sue. The shoe is truly on the other foot. But AG Greg Abbott is so busy with his other lawsuits against the feds that maybe they need to look around for a good lawyer who is used to filing lawsuits based on invented facts. They might want to find out who was acting in Lindsay Lohan’s behalf when she sued E-Trade for the use of her given name in its “milkaholic” ad.
But don’t ask Lindsay who it was. She’s still in rehab.