The 28th Congressional district of New York starts in Buffalo, passes through the hard luck city of Niagara Falls, moves eastward along the sparsely populated Lake Ontario shoreline and ends in the suburbs and city of Rochester. The district is 40% minority and its median household income of $37,858 is 27% below the national average. Job creation has been at a standstill in the 28th for years, as it has been throughout New York State, with manufacturing being particularly hard hit.
It would only be natural for a district like this to elect a liberal Democrat. In the case of NY-28, that liberal Democrat is Louise Slaughter.
And, this week, Rep. Slaughter has had a problem.
You see, Louise has had to wear two hats. Some of the time, she needed to be the liberal representative of a poor district going through very tough times, while at others she has had to be the powerful chairwoman of the House Committee on Rules, which is a choke point for bills and amendments in the House, and do the bidding of the White House and Democratic leadership.
When Brad Sherman and Lloyd Doggett tried to change the 2% payroll tax holiday that threatens the future of Social Security, Louise Slaughter made sure that they were crushed.
Once the rule passed from the Rules Committee to the House floor, the crucial rule vote was #644, and like 213 of her Democratic colleagues, Louise voted for it, making the passage of the Senate version of the tax cuts a done deal.
But with the heavy lifting out of the way, Louise put on her progressive bonnet. When the final vote on the bill took place, she (like many of her colleagues) scurried from “Yea” to “Nay”, casting a meaningless vote against what is arguably the worst bill passed by the 111th Congress.
And then she had to tell everyone about it. On her congressional home page, where Louise trumpeted,
This evening, I will vote against extension of the Bush Tax Cuts of 2001 due to expire December 31 of this year. The bill, for the first time since Social Security was signed in 1935, interferes with the revenue stream that funds Social Security. The example being set by not allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire convinces me that this ‘temporary’ disruption will also not be allowed to expire in an election year.
Secondly, the addition of $858 billion to the debt to provide tax cuts to the top 2 percent of Americans, and an estate tax that costs $25 billion to benefit 6,600 families, is an atrocious giveaway in a nation riddled with debt and unemployment.
She repeated the same in a DailyKos diary , and in statements to Western New York media outlets, and to anyone who would listen.
It’s too bad she didn’t put her beliefs to work, when they mattered.
It’s too bad she didn’t represent the vast majority of her constituents, when they needed her.