Budget Amendments Part II: From Yoga to Chimpanzees

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Following yesterday’s introduction to the first  amendments filed with the 2011 House budget, here is a roundup of some of the more colorful caveats tacked on in the second batch released by the House Rules Committee today. Certainly no one can say Congress is lacking in its variety of pet causes (or pet peeves).

–California Congressman Darrell Issa wants to make sure none of the funds will be used to study the impact of integral yoga on hot flashes in menopausal women, nor to study “condom use skills” in adult males, nor to investigate whether video games improve mental health for the elderly.

–Colorado Rep. Jared Polis — who at Amendment No. 427 just missed the more appropriate No. 420 by a few spots — wants to defund investigations and prosecutions of people manufacturing, distributing or possessing marijuana.

–Arizona Rep. Trent Franks is trying to make any aid to Egypt contingent upon their allowing free navigation of the Suez Canal.

–Mr. Jeff Fortenberry, a congressman from Nebraska who has been involved in human rights issues, wants to forbid the use of funds in “sterilization campaigns.”

–Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana is anxious to see that no money is used to gather free-roaming horses or burros, except when absolutely necessary.

–As if to top Burton’s interest in the animal kingdom, Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is aiming to see that no funds should be used for grant agreements or contracts that allow or encourage the breeding of chimpanzees.

–Michigan Rep. John Conyers, with privacy torch held high, is attempting to defund attempts to get library or book sales records.

–Texas Rep. John Carter is trying to defund 24 assorted salaries with no particular pattern; his amendment would strike salaries from the adviser for the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Plan to the special envoy in charge of monitoring and combating anti-Semitism.

–And Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner slipped in an amendment to defund any program to check helmet usage or create checkpoints for motorcycle drivers or riders.

As Jay noted yesterday, an amendment submitted is a far cry from an amendment passed, especially if said amendment is essentially legislating. Many may do more to make political statements for the individuals submitting them than effect any real change, but some valuable conversations could still be started on the House floor while considering them. A good, hearty debate on chimpanzee breeding has surely been a long time coming.

(To peruse the amendments and bill for yourself, head to the House Rules Committee page here.)