Long Island Sound Stewardship Act, II
I have a friend who has long experience in getting things done politically, at the local, state, and federal level, by working behind the scenes. He’s a moderate Republican, and very active on environmental issues. We were talking recently about a bill that had just passed Congress. One of the reasons it passed was that he had prevailed on a local representative, also a Republican, to push it strongly. The House leadership backed her, he said, for one reason: “She does what she’s told.” By doing what she’s told, she had built up the political capital to get an environmental bill passed when it really mattered.
I bring this up because of its relevance to the failure of the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act. You may remember a big to-do a couple of weeks ago when the House GOP caucus decided against forcing leaders to step down if they should be indicted. The fear among House Republicans was that Majority Leader Tom Delay would be indicted.
The few Republicans who broke ranks and opposed the leadership on this came to be known as the “Shays Handful” – so named by blogger and journalist Josh Marshall because they were led by Rep. Christopher Shays, the Connecticut Republican.
Look now at who killed the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act: Rep. Richard Pombo, a Republican from northern California
The Hartford Courant described Pombo this way (the emphasis is mine): Pombo is a northern California rancher, with a history of questioning what he sees as too much government intrusion into private property rights. He is also a protege of Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, heading a committee that has a strong influence on forest, energy, parks and other environmental policy.”
So an environmental bill sponsored by Christopher Shays, the leader of the “Shays Handful,” was killed by a protégé of Tom Delay.