, Gloucester, MA


April 14, 2011

Editorial: Budget, EPA actions show Tierney's distance from district realities

Staking out his vote against last weekend's congressional budget compromise — the one that staved off a partial government shutdown — Congressman John Tierney Wednesday criticized the Republican push to rein in spending, saying "this is all about ideology."

No, it's not. It's about common sense. It's about recognizing the needs of taxpayers. It is, quite frankly, about being in touch.

Even while crediting President Obama for preserving funding for Head Start and the $5,500 maximum for Pell education grants, for example, Tierney said he thinks the president simply needs to better make his case to the American people.

But doesn't Tierney realize Obama's negotiators signed onto this compromise, too?

There are reasons to vote for or against the budget compromise — and no one wants cuts that wrongly deny benefits to seniors and others who are indeed entitled to them, as Tierney suggests.

But remember that, when U.S. Sen. Scott Brown visited Gloucester last month for a Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce luncheon, he defended his vote to cut $61 billion in health care spending by citing an audit confirming that some $76 billion had been paid to recipients who did not, in any way, qualify for them. Is Tierney not familiar with that audit?

Indeed, in outlining his budget stand — just like in other issues these days — Tierney has only reaffirmed how hopelessly detached he is with the communities and the people in his district. And that starts right here in Gloucester.

It's not often, for example, that a mayor calls out a siting congressman for lack of support. But that's what Mayor Carolyn Kirk rightfully did last month when she saw Tierney's apparent lack of interest in fighting a city waiver from a $60 million Environmental Protection Agency order to install a sewage treatment system — one that statistics show will not provide any benefit.

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