Human Behavior

There is definitely no logic to human behavior.

Georgia’s new congressmen at work

The two newest members of Georgia’s U.S. House delegation, Doug Collins of Gainesville and Tom Graves of Ranger, are like all new members of Congress in that they haven’t acquired enough seniority to actually participate in activities such as crafting substantive pieces of legislation.

Instead, as new congressmen, they have to be content with sending out statements through their communications directors that share their thoughts with the people back home on the issues they believe to be important.

What are these new members telling their constituents these days? Collins distributed a statement Wednesday highlighting his vote for a resolution to overturn one of President Obama’s executive orders:

Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) has voted in favor of legislation that would repeal an executive order signed by President Obama last July which gave authority to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to waive certain welfare work requirements . . . the Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2013 would amend this abuse of executive power; and furthermore, reduce direct government spending by $61 million.

“I realize last July the President was more worried about his re-election bid in November than the hardworking taxpayers he actually represents, “ said Collins. “However, misguided attempts to weaken welfare to work programs and increase our national debt are unacceptable under any circumstance. The Obama Administration has an obligation to the American people to ensure their economic prosperity, and completely dismantling and weakening the framework of a government program along with adding more to our debt is unwarranted.”

This resolution passed the House on a party-line vote of 246-181, but once it has been sent to the Democratic-controlled Senate it will move no further.

In his remarks about Obama’s “work for welfare” order, Collins is repeating an old canard from last year’s presidential campaign that has been debunked numerous times by media fact-checkers. Republican nominee Mitt Romney ran several TV spots claiming that Obama had “gutted” welfare reform and made it possible for lazy, shiftless welfare recipients to get government checks without doing anything.

In fact, as numerous media outlets subsequently reported, Obama had granted requests from a few Republican governors to waive some requirements in the TANF laws so as to give states more control over how they administer their welfare program.

As Rick Ungar commented in Forbes:

These states have discovered that the federal requirements are tying up too many welfare workers and resources with cumbersome paperwork, resulting in less time being spent by welfare workers on actually helping those getting assistance find the work they need to keep, and ultimately no longer need, the government aid.

The waiver would also permit states to tighten up on some language in the federal law that allows welfare recipients to claim unpaid internships and other such endeavors as qualifiers for welfare rather that getting actual, paying jobs.

So, the states ask for more power to operate their welfare programs in a way they believe will produce a better local result than the system required by the federal government . . . the Obama Administration agrees to this request in the understanding that the states are in a better position than the central government to determine what works for them . . . and the Republicans go nuts.

Graves, who hails from the new 14th Congressional District over in Georgia’s northwest corner, distributed an email statement Wednesday in which he vowed, once again, to defund the federal healthcare act:

I still believe we can fight back against Obamacare. In fact, I believe we must.

That’s why I introduced the Defund Obamacare Act, which prevents your tax dollars from being used to implement any part of Obamacare.

I am committed to ripping out Obamacare by its roots, and will continue to be a leader in the fight to end this costly, burdensome and invasive law.

Those are fighting words, to be sure, and Graves knows a thing or two from his own life experiences about how to defund a federally insured institution. Remember, it was just a few years ago that he and his colleague, former state senator Chip Rogers of Woodstock, were securing a $2.2 million loan from the Bartow County Bank to buy and renovate a fleabag motel in Calhoun.

The Bartow County Bank later sued Graves and Rogers for defaulting on that loan and further alleged in its lawsuit that Graves made a “fraudulent transfer” of property he owned in Gordon County “with the intent to defraud lender in the collection of obligations owed by Defendant Graves.”

The Bartow County Bank later failed and was sold off by the FDIC. As reported by Shannon McCaffrey of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Cartersville lawyer Morgan Akin, who was the chairman of Bartow County Bank, doesn’t see it that way. He said the lawmakers’ loan default ‘contributed significantly’ to his bank’s failure and accused them of being irresponsible with their personal finances.”

If Graves can do to Obamacare what he did to the Bartow County Bank, he’ll certainly be able to deliver on his promise to defund the federal healthcare act. The chances of that actually happening are rather slim, however. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the healthcare act and voters last November chose not to elect Romney, who had promised to repeal Obamacare on his first day as president.

© 2013 by The Georgia Report

Tags: Bartow County Bank , Chip Rogers , Doug Collins , freshmen congressmen , loan default , Obamacare , Tom Graves , U.S. House

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