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April 3, 2009 / Brooklyn news / Politics / Bay Ridge / McMahon on Line 1

McMahon on Line 1: Ridge Rep. votes yes on budget

The Brooklyn Paper

Rep. Mike McMahon made the biggest vote of his life last Thursday night — so, naturally, he was on the phone with The Brooklyn Paper the next morning.

That April 2 vote — on the president’s $3.5-trillion budget — was a doozy, a bill both massive in size and controversy (not a single Republican voted for it).

“I was a little nervous as I cast my vote,” said McMahon, who was literally on Line 1 to our Metrotech offices from somewhere inside his Bay Ridge–Staten Island district.

“It’s a big bill, so it’s nerve-wracking,” he said. “But it’s a fiscally prudent plan that will take on some of the big challenges: health care costs, education, energy.”

McMahon said he cast the vote at 7:30 pm — just too late to make the last fast Amtrak out of Washington. Instead, he caught the 9 pm local — and crawled all the way up the Eastern Seaboard (good thing he’s on the Transportation Committee).

The budget vote will earn McMahon some criticism in his centrist district, but he said he welcomes the chance to explain his rationale.

“It’s not a perfect budget because it does not reduce the debt as quickly as I’d like,” he said. “But it is responsible. It does have tax breaks for the middle class and it does provide a roadmap on health care, education and, energy. It also has an increase in benefits for veterans.”

But it has a huge deficit — extending more than a decade into the future.

“I am as concerned as everyone about deficits,” he said. “But remember, when the Bush administration took over, it had a surplus. This year, we were left with a $1-trillion budget deficit and a national debt of $10 trillion. President Obama’s budget will cut the annual deficit in half and reduce the national debt by one-third over five years. It’s not as quick as I’d like it, but given the tough times we’re in, this is the most sensible budget that the country has had in eight years.”

But if times are so tough, why should the nation take on so much, the congressman was asked.

“We can’t stabilize the economy without dealing with big-cost items like health care,” he said. “Every small businessman knows that this is the biggest problem. Yes, we must get deficits down, but this is like in the 1930s and ’40s, when we needed to take bold action and we did.”

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Watching from Bay Ridge says:
So he voted on it. Big deal.

What did he contribute to it during the writing process?
April 4, 2009, 5:34 pm
Jack from B. Ridge says:
Agreed: He voted on it. Big deal.
Is this going to be a regular McMahon-p.r.-of-the-week slot? Or can we eventually expect something vaguely substantive?
April 5, 2009, 2:14 am
Staten from Island says:
I enjoy The Brooklyn Paper's "McMahon on Line 1" feature. And I say "feature" because that's what it appears to be. The Paper is chronicling a freshman representative's first year in office via a weekly update from the congressman himself. It's not a press release written by a staffer or a talk with a spokesperson. It's in his own words and he is answering questions posed to him by a reporter/editor. The alternatives (press releases and spokespeople) are less palatable.

McMahon should be commended for taking the time to do this, and other elected officials should follow his lead.
April 5, 2009, 1:35 pm
Watching from Bay Ridge says:
So other elected officials should follow McMahon's lead of bragging about voting for stuff he didn't help to write?

I mean, why did we need McMahon to get elected to simply vote? We could have elected anyone to simply vote.

I wouldn't commend someone for taking up media space to brag about doing things a 5th grader could if given partisan marching orders.

I'll commend these PR stunts when McMahon starts writing serious legislation that actually benefits the district.
April 5, 2009, 4:12 pm
Staten from Island says:
Who cares if he wrote it or not?

Yes, part of a congressman's job is to write legislation, but it's not his number-one duty.

I am more interested in watching how a congressman votes on the legislation put before him — something they do a heck of a lot more than submitting their own bills.

It's more important that a congressman vote against bad bills (or vote for good bills) than he write any bills at all.

And the fact that he is explaining why he voted for or against a bill every week helps keep his constituents informed of their congressman's thought process.

How is that a bad thing?
April 5, 2009, 11:01 pm
Bayridge from Bay Ridge says:
I agree with Watching -- it's a p.r. stunt.

If he wanted to be really 'educational,' he could run his entire daily-weekly sked, so we'd know how he was spending his time and with which special-interest groupies.

Because it's not as if he's tied to a House desk M-F, just waiting nobly for a Big Vote to call the Bklyn Paper about.
April 10, 2009, 4:33 am

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