Hodes skips votes on jobless benefits for Netroots Nation
posted at 11:36 am on July 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
Democrats like Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH) demanded that Republicans back a plan to borrow even more money to pay for an extension of jobless benefits. Republicans attempted to hold out in order to get Democrats to comply with their own ballyhooed “pay-go” rules and use monies already allocated in the stimulus package. Hodes and his fellow Democrats refused to budge and demagogued Republican resistance as an attack on the jobless. When Republicans finally relented, did Paul Hodes cast the vote he demanded from Republicans? Er … he had a “scheduling issue“:
After repeatedly prodding his Republican opponents in the U.S. Senate race to support extending unemployment benefits, Democratic U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes last week missed the vote.
A spokesman for the Hodes campaign said an unspecified “scheduling issue” prevented the congressman from voting July 22 when the U.S. House approved restoring jobless pay for millions of Americans who had been out of work six months or more. Spokesman Matt House said Hodes remains a strong supporter of extended benefits.
Hodes was scheduled to appear in Las Vegas the next day at the liberal bloggers convention Netroots Nation, and by Saturday afternoon he had told a Huffington Post reporter at the conference that Republicans who opposed the extension were “extremist, obstructionist, lying hypocrites who think you don’t have to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest but are holding up help for the neediest.”
Hypocrites, huh? Hodes went to Las Vegas rather than bothering to wait for the final vote. By his own standards, Hodes cares more about his election to the Senate than in casting the votes he demands from others.
In truth, the vote was assured in the House with or without Hodes. But also in truth, Republicans would have supported the extension had it not relied on borrowing more money. The issue was not helping the “neediest,” but stopping the deficit spending that Democrats have massively expanded in the last two years — and forcing the Democrats to live by their own “pay-go” rule, which they still have yet to do. That’s the real hypocrisy, and Hodes’ demagoguery in Las Vegas isn’t fooling anyone. Not any more.
Update: Speaking of hypocrisy …
New Hampshire Congressman Paul Hodes called on embattled colleague Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Thursday night to step down from office. …
“After reading these very serious charges, I believe that it has come time for him to step down,” Hodes said. He said Rangel served the United States honorably as a decorated veteran of the Korean War, and he has represented constituents in New York for decades.
Republican Party spokesman Ryan Williams said Hodes should donate the Rangel money to a New Hampshire charity, as did second-district congressional candidate Katrina Swett.
“The call for resignation is hollow and empty given his refusal to give back that money,” Williams said.
But Hodes campaign spokesman Mark Bergman said the money has been spent.
“This money was never given to the Senate campaign,” Bergman said. “The money’s been spent in previous cycles and was not transferred over (to the Senate account).”
Oh yes, that particular money was spent.
Update II: Hodes is running for the Senate, not for re-election to his House seat. I’ve adjusted the post accordingly.