In a Time of Crisis, Republicans Up to Their Usual Tricks

9-10-05, 10:26 am

Much has been said about President Bush partying with John McCain, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on a shoe shopping trip and Vice President Cheney on vacation – all while Americans on the Gulf Shore needed their leadership.

But wait, there's more. Washington Republicans haven't taken a break from actions that make regular American's scratch their head and wonder...

After continual delays and a promise to US Senators that a decision would be forthcoming by Sept. 1, the FDA once again denied women increased access to Plan B emergency contraception (EC) also known as the 'morning-after pill.' Despite multiple medical and scientific evidence and support of the safety and effectiveness of Plan B, the FDA has put a ruling on hold indefinitely. In protest, Susan Wood who served as assistant FDA commissioner of the Office of Women's Heath resigned after 5 years of service. Woods told the Washington Post she could no longer serve as staff when 'scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled.'

Recent data from the US Census Bureau tells us the average earnings by women declined by about $330 in real dollars during the past year, from $31,550 to $31,223. [U.S. Census Bureau, 8/30/05; Table A-2]. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi noted since President Bush took office, 5.4 million more Americans are living in poverty, 6 million more are without health insurance, and families are stretched too thin as household incomes have declined by almost $1,700 in the last four years.

The US Navy has awarded Halliburton, a company previously run by Vice President Dick Cheney, to repair naval facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina. According to the Houston Chronicle, the work was assigned to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary under the Navy's $500 million CONCAP contract. Coincidentally, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the first two years of the Bush administration, which is tasked with responding to hurricane disasters, became a lobbyist for KBR.

And speaking of Halliburton updates, the Bush administration demoted the Army's top procurement official last month, after she was critical of a no-bid multibillion-dollar contract award to Halliburton for repair of Iraqi oil fields. Bunnatine Greenhouse had publicly questioned the decision saying the abuse of the contracts was 'the most blatant an improper abuse I have witnessed.' [Washington Post, 8/29/05]

But there is some justice to be announced: This week a grand jury handed down five felony indictments to a political action committee formed by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and a Texas business group in connection with 2002 legislative campaign contributions.