It shows how little power Democrats hold in the U.S. House of Representatives when I get a press release that says Congressmember Mazie Hirono, D-2nd District, is right now “fighting” to restore “$3 million in funding to the Watershed Protection and Flood Program.”
That’s right. Three million dollars American. People, and not even really super-rich people, live in houses that cost more than that. But that’s apparently what it comes down to when Republicans control the House.
“This program supports our state and local governments’ ability to improve agricultural water delivery systems for farmers in Hawaii — especially along the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii Island and in upcountry Maui, and in developing flood protection infrastructure for Hilo and Lahaina,” Hirono said in her office’s June 16 press release.
According to Hirono’s office, on Maui the 60-year-old program (which was eliminated in Fiscal Year 2011) helps 170 farmers upcountry and protects 200 homes, 35 condos, 160 commercial buildings and four public buildings that lie within the Lahaina floodplain (click here for a rundown on how the program affects Hawaii). Hirono says she won “strong bipartisan support” to keep the program funded.
In Washington, any appropriation less than a billion dollars is pretty much invisible. That Hirono had to battle so much to keep such a tiny scrap of pork alive shows how serious House Republicans are about slashing government spending. MTW