So, Congressman Rob Bishop of Utah's 1st congressional district issued a statement dated May 28, 2010, in which he brags about a great deal of money that he earmarked for Utah in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 5136).
Now, I have no problem with his earmarks but he went on to say that when the bill was in committe, the "[bipartisan] process produced a decent bill, and I supported it.”
I imagine a lot of people might read right up to that point where he says, "I supported it," and infer that that equalled a "Yes" vote on the bill.
And they would be incorrect. As the entry on GovTrack.us shows: Bishop voted "No."
Bishop's web site did not make this very clear. After his declaration that he "supported it," Bishop--in the final paragraph--complained about the process on the floor of the House and said that by adding language in regard to "don't ask, don't tell" the Democratic leadership "took a bipartisan product and turned it into a partisan tool. It didn’t have to be this way.”
But he didn't say that he voted against the bill. Why? Because it would be contradictory to his earlier statement that he "supported it."
I wanted to get clarification on this little matter and, thankfully, the name and phone number of a Bishop staffer was provided right at the top of the page: Melissa Subbotin 202-225-0453
This is the gist of our conversation:
Me: Why doesn't Congressman Bishop say on his own web site that he voted no on the final bill, H.R. 5236?
Ms. Subbotin then proceeded to give me a civics lesson about the committee process and the debate on the floor and how things change. I found it a little condescending so I continued...
Me: I understand how the process works but I would like to see a statement on the Congressman's website stating that he voted NO on the bill.
Subbotin: He supported the original bill.
Me: But he voted NO on the FINAL bill.
Subbotin: You're implying that we're intentionally trying to mislead something.
Me: I feel misled.
Subbotin : Well, you shouldn't feel misled... We don't say that he didn't support the final vote.
(I had to think about that for a moment and she's right: They didn't say that he didn't support the final vote... that's the problem.)
Me: I feel it's disingenuous for you guys to brag about all this money coming to Utah and not say that he voted against it because it implies that he voted FOR the bill.
Subbotin : Okay.
Me: I'm asking that you put a statement on the web site that says that Congressman Bishop voted no on the final bill.
Subbotin : Okay... We'll take your request into consideration.
Me: (laughing) Thanks for blowing me off.
Bragging about all those earmarks certainly implies that Bishop wanted the bill to pass. That the evidence shows so clearly that he voted NO says something entirely different.
I just checked before hitting the "Publish Post" button and it appears that Congressman Bishop's staff has updated the web page to show that the Congressman voted NO on the final passage of the bill. Looks like they're going to embrace the doublethink. ;-)
I wonder if Subbotin Googled me and discovered that I'm running for Congress in district 3?