Diatribe: Sneaky House Republicans Raise Limit Of Taxpayer Funding To Defend DOMA.
The agreed upon spending of resources, be they time or money, is an important aspect of an efficient budget. Household budgets work in a similar fashion to budgets of business and of government budgets. There must be discussions and negotiations to determine how existing and future resources can be used in the most beneficial manner possible. Surely, if one partner spends $500,000 without telling the other it would be unacceptable.
House Republicans have quietly raised the value of a contract with a private law firm that is handling the chamber’s Supreme Court defense of the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman. Back in September, House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren (R-CA) signed off on a $500,000 increase in the maximum value of the contract with the law firm they’ve hired to defend the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
When the Obama administration announced in February 2011 that it would no longer defend the discriminatory law in court, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. A House panel, took on the case with a $500,000 budget. That budget was raised to $1.5 million in September 2011 and raised again to $2,000,000 in September of this year. Although the latest lifting of the maximum happened almost three months ago, House Democrats … and the public … were not informed until just this week.
“Hiding this contract from voters in the midst of an election season was a cynical move at best, and a betrayal of the public trust at worst. Republicans should not be spending $2 million to defend discrimination in our country.” – Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA
On December 7th, the Supreme Court agreed to evaluate the constitutionality of DOMA, which prevents same-sex couples who are legally married under state laws from receiving dozens of federal benefits. The court is expected to hear arguments in March, with a decision likely by the end of June. In addition to evaluating the constitutionality of the statue itself, the court has asked whether the House has the standing to defend the measure in court. This question could also increase the lawyers’ workload and could force Republicans to raise the contract maximum yet again in the future!
This makes me wonder what else they might be hiding from taxpayers. Two million dollars is a lot of money … it’s taxpayers money that could certainly be spent more wisely. It appears to me that, like a child hiding his or her actions from a parent, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group knows that what they’re doing is unsavory at best.
Shame on them.
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