deals bribes various senators were offered for favorable consideration to buy their vote for Obamacare? There were Mary Landrieu’s “Louisiana Purchase,” Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback,” Chris Dodd’s “U-Con,” Bill Nelson’s “Gator-Aid” for Florida, and others. In each case, a senator sold their vote in favor of an unpopular, badly written bill few had read in return for a legislative 30 pieces of silver.
Now there comes the immigration reform bill: an increasingly unpopular, badly written bill that few have read in full and is being rushed to passage before many can.
And it’s happening again:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) have inserted a provision that amounts to little more than a handout to Las Vegas casinos into the repackaged immigration reform bill, Breitbart News has learned. This provision, a brazen example of crony capitalism, was inserted into the immigration law enforcement section of the bill despite the fact that it has nothing whatsoever to do with “immigration” or “law enforcement.”
On page 66 of the repackaged bill, the following provision appears:
“CORPORATION FOR TRAVEL PROMOTION.—Sec- 9(d)(2)(B) of the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (22 U.S.C. 2131(d)(2)(B)) is amended by striking ‘‘For each of fiscal years 2012 through 2015,’’ and inserting ‘‘For each fiscal year after 2012.”
The Travel Promotion Act (TPA) of 2009 allows the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury to spend up to $100 million on promoting travel to specific areas of the country. If the provision Reid and Heller inserted into the proposed immigration reform legislation becomes law, the benefits of the TPA would be extended indefinitely.
As the Heritage Foundation’s Jena McNeill wrote in June 2009, the Travel Promotion Act creates “a government-run public relations campaign funded by a tax on international visitors.” After the law was passed, the PR campaign touting Las Vegas casinos and other tourist destinations in the U.S. using that tax was rolled into a government-run corporation called “Brand USA.” In October 2012, Jim DeMint and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) released a report that “reveals a history of waste, abuse, patronage, and lax oversight” with the Brand USA program and the Department of Commerce that oversees it.
Why any state needs a federally funded campaign to attract tourists is beyond me; they all have tourism boards of their own, after all. And, if the big casinos want to boost Vegas, somehow something tells me they make enough money to fund a campaign themselves.
But, the question of where the federal government gets its authority to promote tourism aside, here’s the kicker and the kickback: per the Breitbart article, Senator Dean Heller (R) was not a sponsor of the original immigration bill. Now, with the amendment, something he can brag about in his next campaign, he suddenly is. You can just hear the clink of the silver in his palm.
So, what should we call this one? How about the “Silver State Sellout?”
via Jay Cost
UPDATE: Ooh! And here’s another, this time for Alaska! Clink, clink, clink.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)