Cowboy Poetry

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the floor this morning to yet again rail against the House’s 2011 omnibus bill. He listed a number of the bill’s evils.

The last few days I’ve come to the floor and explained at length the damage that this Tea Party plan would do on the short term and on the long term. Let me now just again talk briefly about a few of the things that I’ve talked about before, but I’ll talk about them again.

Here are some of the consequences. H.R. 1 will fire 700,000 Americans, 6,000 Nevadans. Our budget would create jobs, not cost jobs. It will kick 200,000 head start students, the poorest of the poor — little boys and girls trying to get started in life – it will kick them off their ability to learn to read and do elementary math. Hundreds in Nevada will suffer from that. This is a very successful early education program. Head start works. It would slash college students’ Pell Grants, financial aid so many rely on to afford to go to school.

It will eliminate job-training investment at a time we need them the most. It would pull the plug on 600 renewable energy jobs and the largest solar plant in Nevada. It would fire 600 Nevadans who work at community health centers, which hurts those workers as well as the neediest Nevadans who need this help every day.

It would arbitrarily slash programs that fight crime and keep our neighborhoods safe. It would slash homeless security investments that keep Nevadans safe and our country safe. And, Madam President, we have 55 million, 60 million people who visit Las Vegas every year. It’s important that we keep them safe also.

The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1, eliminates National Public Broadcasting. Now, that is really saying a lot, Madam President. It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is in Nevada every January for a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.

Leaving aside the syntax — I’m sure those people would exist, just maybe not as tourists in Nevada — Reid is kind of walking himself into a Jon Stewart mocking here. Losing 700,000 jobs and the plight of poor children in Head Start are serious  concerns that Senators must weigh in the coming weeks. The Cowboy Poetry Festival, though, isn’t a line in the sand I think most members are so concerned about. Not that I don’t love cowboy poetry. Yee-haw!