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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter" <awoiwodesc@earthlink.net>

Congressman Joe Schwarz takes a swipe at the "Christmas tree" that the Defense Appropriations Bill has had, including adding drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- AW

U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Battle Creek) released the following statement today regarding the proposed House-Senate compromise on the defense appropriations bill.
As a citizen, veteran, member of Congress and member of the House Armed Services Committee, my primary focus is working to secure our national security and providing our men and women in uniform with everything they need to succeed.
The defense appropriations bill is the standard vehicle with which we ensure that the troops are receiving the support they need from Washington. The legislation currently being considered is a travesty. In legislative parlance it equates to a Christmas tree bill â?? decorated with the wants of every conceivable interest group.
As we work to close out this legislative year, the American people have made clear two points: First, they expect Congress to act responsibly. Second, they expect our nationâ??s leaders to be serious about winning the war in Iraq. This proposed Christmas tree bill is precisely what the American people have come to expect from Congress â?? irresponsible legislation packed with initiatives that have nothing whatsoever to do with the defense of our country, and support of our troops, and everything to do with pandering to the special interests.
The last time this fiscal conservative checked, the Secretary of Defense did not request funding for private and parochial school vouchers, nor did he ask for drilling in national wildlife preserves as a means to support our military. The reason he did not ask is quite obvious: These have absolutely nothing to do with national defense. These are issues that should be considered independently, not lumped together in a confusing last-minute rush. The American people deserve better. More importantly, so do those that serve this country.
It is utterly despicable to be put in a position of choosing between funding our troops and opposing bad public policy. My positions on the war, on private-school vouchers and on ANWR drilling are clear. If we have learned anything from the Bridge to Nowhere debacle, itâ??s that the American people expect Congress to take a hard look at legislation before it and to reject proposals added at the last possible minute and which have absolutely no relation to the true purpose of this legislation. I urge my colleagues to keep the defense bill focused on protecting our troops, and to save the Christmas trees for Christmas.
U.S. Rep. JOE SCHWARZ represents the 7th Congressional District of Michigan, which includes parts of Calhoun and Washtenaw counties and all of Branch, Eaton, Jackson, Hillsdale and Lenawee counties. A practicing physician for over 30 years, he previously served in the U.S. Navy, the Central Intelligence Agency, and in local and state government. He currently sits on the House Agriculture, Armed Services and Science committees.

Anne Woiwode, State Director * Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48906
517-484-2372 ph * 517-484-3108 * anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org
Visit the Michigan Sierra Club at: http://michigan.sierraclub.org

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