Why did four members of the council change their votes? The answer quite simply is that they were coerced. Ryan Grim writing on The Huffington Postreveals that “Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat who represents El Paso in Congress, lobbied each council member, making it clear that if the resolution calling for a debate passed, El Paso would risk losing money in the upcoming stimulus legislation. Five Texas House representatives made the same threat.”
Here is an opportunity for Barack Obama to prove that his promise of change has at least some substance. His administration should contact Rep. Reyes and the four state legislators for the purpose of finding out if anyone working in the federal bureaucracy indicated that funding would be cut off if the resolution passed. If any such persons are found then Obama must fire them immediately. He ought to also make a very public statement that discussing issues is not grounds for denial of stimulus or any other government funds. If he does not take these actions then we will know for sure that it is business as usual in the nation’s capital.
Cross posted on The Trebach Report