This Is What Bipartisanship Looks Like?

Democrat Works with GOP to Cut Homeless Program

This Is What Bipartisanship Looks Like?

Here's one place where American Democracy fails: in little rooms in Olympia where "bipartisan" politics play out.

On February 27, after TVW turned off its cameras at a Senate Financial Institutions, Housing, and Insurance Committee hearing, state senator Jan Angel (R-26), to the astonishment of her colleagues, suddenly killed off a bill that funds most of the state's homeless programs by ending the hearing before bringing it up.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, Madam Chair, what about 2368?" asked Senator Don Benton (R-17) when Angel adjourned the committee without warning. Others immediately chimed in. "To abruptly adjourn this meeting without protecting the homeless really, really bothers me, and it will affect those who need a voucher just for housing over their heads on a cold day," said Senator Sharon Nelson (D-34). Bill 2368, with bipartisan cosponsors, would have prevented a 62.5 percent cut in funding for programs that transition the homeless into shelters and homes, according to the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. The funding comes from modest recording fees on real-estate-related documents.

Why did Angel kill funding for the homeless?

It turns out that Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, who was elected as a Democrat but has since decided to caucus with Republicans as part of a bipartisan "coalition," called and told her to table the bill, according to committee member Senator Steve Hobbs (D-44), who says Tom admitted that to him directly. Rumors abound that Tom did it merely to perturb Democratic House Speaker Frank Chopp. "He didn't say he wants to poke Frank Chopp in the eye," Hobbs says, "but I think everyone knows what Frank Chopp's thing is." Housing has long been Chopp's signature issue.

Pressed over the phone, Tom admitted that he did tell Angel, the Republican chair of the committee, that he opposes the bill. But he denied telling her to kill it. He doubts the state's efforts to fight homelessness are working and his position has nothing to do with Chopp, he says.

"It's not clear if Rodney Tom did this as a favor to bankers and realtors, or out of political retribution," says Fuse Washington's Collin Jergens. "This is a new low for Rodney Tom." recommended


Comments (10) RSS

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When your conservatism surprises Don Benton, you've gone off the fucking deep end.
Posted by sdgg on March 5, 2014 at 10:28 AM · Report this
If Utah can do this, anyone should be able to:…
Posted by Narbles on March 5, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Why hasn't this shameless action been picked up by any of the other media in our state?
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on March 5, 2014 at 11:57 AM · Report this
south downtown 4
Tom and Angel should be publicly flogged. This is eff'd up...
Posted by south downtown on March 5, 2014 at 12:08 PM · Report this
don't make steve hobbs out to be an angel .. don't forget his roadkill causus. he is up for reelection and at that time works hard to appear as a democrate
Posted by jane do on March 5, 2014 at 1:06 PM · Report this
Cut Tom and Angel!! Period! And, while we're at serious overhauling of state government, oust Doug "Mr. Pig Trough" Ericksen, pro-gun nutjob Jason Overstreet, and his right-wingnut hand puppet, Vincent Buys Votes.
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 5, 2014 at 1:39 PM · Report this
It looks like a drunk hobo?
Posted by Only a lonesome hobo on March 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Rodney Tom thinks the homeless are pawns in a political game and wants to help out bankers and real estate companies instead. Email him if you think differently.…
Posted by mrswanson on March 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Posted by mrswanson on March 7, 2014 at 3:01 PM · Report this
There is no bi-partisanship. republicans do not know how to play well with others, it's their way or the highway and that is what is going to cost them the elections in 2014 and 2016.
Posted by longwayhome on March 7, 2014 at 7:48 PM · Report this

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