Saturday, February 14, 2009

Arlen Spector Playing the Political Game

What is politics? It's about developing political ideas, fighting in elections, representing your electorate. But sometimes it's about wheeler-dealing and negotiating to get something you want. That sometimes gets a bad name .... but here's a positive example ....

WASHINGTON — For years, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has been the National Institutes of Health’s most ardent champion on Capitol Hill. Having survived two bouts with cancer, open-heart surgery and even a faulty diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease, he has long insisted that research that results in medical cures is the best service that government can provide.

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania arrived Friday at the Capitol to cast a crucial vote on the economic stimulus bill.

But even lobbyists are stunned by the coup Mr. Specter pulled off this week. In return for providing one of only three Republican votes in the Senate for the Obama administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus package, he was able to secure a 34 percent increase in the health agency’s budget — to $39 billion from $29 billion.

After money intended for highways, schools and states, it is the largest of chunk of financing in the budget and is almost three times the $3.5 billion first approved by the House. Nearly $2 billion is intended for building and equipment projects at the N.I.H. campus in Bethesda, Md., as well as at universities across the country. But most of the money will go to pay for as many as 15,000 additional grants submitted by scientists at universities across the country.


Flavius Aetius said...

Whatever Senator Specter's motives in bolting from the Party, he infuriated Pennsylvania Republicans who reelected him to the Senate. I believe he has decided to run again, and if so, he will face a primary he will likely lose. He signed his political death warrant when he helped push the "stimulus" bill to the President's desk.

Chris Black said...

Well, sometimes the purpose of being in politics is simply to win -i.e. to stop a worse guy from winning. But sometimes it's to achieve something , even at the cost of losing next time....

With a name like Aetius, you should understand that! :)

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