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For the week of March 14 through 20, 2001

No sympathy for Idaho

The abiding faith among Republicans who championed George W. Bush’s election as president is that he’ll attack federal spending with a meat cleaver.

And, indeed, he’s doing that with gusto—to the absolute chagrin of party faithful who might wonder if that’s what they really wanted.

Include among those Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson: He’s fretting about a $700 million cut in the Department of Energy budget.

Simpson is concerned that reduced DOE spending might hobble the cleanup of nuclear waste at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

This illustrates one of the eccentricities of Republican House members who relish budget cuts, but not cuts in their important projects back home.

Rep. Simpson may not find much sympathy if he goes around the president and appeals to Bush’s Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham, who was defeated for re-election to the U.S. Senate by Michigan voters.

As a member of the Senate, Abraham attempted to abolish the Department of Energy.

So, the man who’ll decide whether INEEL nuclear waste cleanup is fully funded has a history of despising the agency over which he now presides, and thus presumably has every reason to transform the DOE into a colossal failure to prove his claims that the department won’t work.

President Bush’s pick of Abraham as energy secretary is the equivalent of naming a pyromaniac to be fire chief.



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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.