An Odd Couple

jk IIIJoseph Kennedy III and Tom Reed are an odd couple–Kennedy is a Liberal Democrat from Boston, while Reed is a Conservative Republican from a largely rural district in western NY. It seems unlikely that they would agree on anything, yet they have joined in sponsoring H.R. 2996, RAMI. What’s going on here, one wonders?

reed smilingRAMI is an oddity:

  • Proposed by President Obama
  • Favored by many Democrats
  • Inconsistent with libertarian views
  • Partially implemented with Executive Orders to the dislike of many Republicans
  • Got bipartisan support in House and Senate
  • Was contrived not to draw directly on the Treasury

It is surprising that the House would vote on such a bill, and that it would pass the House on a voice vote.

I speculate that both Kennedy and Reed needed a bill to claim as their own for personal reasons, and were selected by party leaders to sponsor it in a political deal. That would explain the unlikely sponsors, why the bill came to a vote, passed on a late-night voice vote, and now seems likely to become law. Still, questions remain:

  • The bill as introduced was amended by the Science and Technology Committee. Were the revisions substantive?
  • Are the House and Senate bills identical?
  • Did the House wait till September to vote to put the Senate on the spot?
  • If this bill is part of a compromise between House and Senate, what else is is included in the compromise?

Stay tuned–it will be interesting to see what happens next. One thing seems clear–both congressmen will continue to celebrate passage by the House whether or not RAMI becomes law.

© William Hungerford – September 2014








About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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6 Responses to An Odd Couple

  1. whungerford says:

    Obama wants to establish at least 45 more hubs as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. He’s asked Congress to provide $1 billion to help make it happen. Legislation that would provide a more modest amount — $300 million over 10 years — could pass the Senate by the end of this week after clearing the House Monday.

    House Republicans who had objected to creating a new program were mollified by plans to draw on money already set aside for the federal Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program. The program has a budget of $1.9 billion this fiscal year for promoting energy-saving programs and research for homes, buildings and manufacturing.


  2. BOB McGILL says:

    House Republicans who had objected to creating a new program were mollified by plans to draw on money already set aside for the federal Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program, ” which has been a total failure.” Isn’t Kennedy family considered environmentalists ?


  3. whungerford says:

    Yes, Rep. Kennedy has a 96% score from the League of Conservation Voters while Rep. Reed has a 4% score. Why Rep. Kennedy agreed to this method of funding RAMI is unclear to me.


  4. josephurban says:

    All politics is local. I am sure (without reading the bill, I admit), that there is something in this package for the districts represented by both Kennedy and Reed. For example, Reed is an outspoken critic of government spending on “big government” programs but he supported the increased government funding for Amtrak…many of the new rail cars will be built in his district. Big government ceases to be a problem when it creates jobs at home or funnels money to local business! Let us not pretend that Congressmen make decisions based primarily on “philosophy”. All politics is local.


  5. whungerford says:

    “All politics is local” is a catchy phrase, but what does it mean? When the Supreme Court makes a blatantly political decision, if this reflects local politics at all, it must be the local politics of yesteryear. When Congress or state legislators act on the wishes of well-healed lobbyists, it is hard to see how this reflects local politics.


  6. josephurban says:

    “All politics is local” means that politicians make decisions based on what they think will get them re-elected. Not what is best. It is a simplification, but the process is pretty clear. It does not mean that the politician does what is necessarily “best” for his constituents, but that he does what is “best” in terms of his own local election possibilities. Hence, “welfare” is money spent by government in other districts…”smart development” is money spent in my district.


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