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Congress horses around, spends money

Congress horses around, spends money

July 24, 2009
July 24, 2009

Remember those wonderful days when the federal government would spend $500 on toilet seats and $700 on hammers?

Well, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has dramatically increased the ante by approving legislation to provide $700 million for wild horses. Yes, you read it correctly -- $700 million for wild horses. It's an amendment to the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act and the idea is to improve the management and long-term health of wild free-roaming horses and burros. The highlights include:

  • Establishing a horse census every two years;
  • Providing "enhanced contraception" and birth control for horses;
  • Making available an additional 19 million acres of public and private land for wild horses;
  • Covering the $5 million tab to repair horse damage to land; and
  • This is my favorite ... Mandating that government bureaucrats perform home inspections before Americans can adopt horses. I've thought for a long time that adoption laws needed an overhaul.

Idaho Reps. Mike Simpson and Walt Minnick voted against the bill, which is now pending in the Senate. Rep. John Boehner, R-OH, the Republican floor leader in the House, had some strong words in opposing the creation of a welfare program for wild horses and burros.

"Bringing this legislation to the floor at this time is an insult to the more than two million Americans who have lost their jobs since the Democrats' trillion-dollar ‘stimulus' became law," he said. "With 9.5 percent unemployed and a budget deficit of more than $1 trillion, what does this say about the priorities of the Democratic leadership in Congress?"

Maybe I'm being a little rough. An individual responding on opencda.com - a website created by conservative thinkers in the Coeur d'Alene area - brought up some positive aspects.

"This is WONDERFUL use of federal funds," the individual wrote, dripping with sarcasm. "After all, think of the under and unemployed cowboys that will soon be back at their careers. We NEED those cowboys in order to keep our 19th century perspectives in focus. Now at least 100 or maybe even 200 cowboys will once again ride the open range. ...To be politically correct and acknowledging that a certain number of these range riders will be women, they'll need to be called something like ‘horse round-up persons.'"

Hmmm ... Horse round-up persons. The Senate could make that title mandatory, which could take the total cost up to $1 billion. If members of Congress are going to waste tax dollars, they might as well work in simple, round numbers.

Chuck Malloy is Special Projects Writer for the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

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