[Vision2020] [CORRECTED] In D.C., Bill Sali Quick to Take Lead
thansen at moscow.com
Thu Jan 11 06:09:22 PST 2007
>From today's (January 11, 2007) Spokesman Review -
What Rep. Sali voted against:
HR 1 - Homeland security measures
HR 2 - Increase of minimum wage
What Rep. Sali is sponsoring:
HR 26 - Commends Boise State University for their victory in the Fiesta Bowl
(other bills establishing English as the official US language and a
Yet Rep. Sali remains inaccessible to Idaho citizens by email from his
In D.C., Bill Sali quick to take lead
Sense of humor key to his approach
January 11, 2007
New Idaho Congressman Bill Sali proposed a bill Wednesday to combat obesity
by reducing the Earth's gravity, saying that's no more unreasonable than the
Democrats' legislation to increase the federal minimum wage.
Both defy "natural laws," he said.
"The well-intentioned desire to help the poor apparently will not be
restrained by the rules and principles of the free market that otherwise do
restrain American businesses and workers," Sali told the House of
Representatives. "Apparently, Congress can change the rules that would
otherwise affect the affairs of mankind."
The Democratic-controlled House voted 315-116 to raise the federal minimum
wage to $7.25 an hour, with more than 80 Republicans joining Democrats to
pass it. But Sali stuck to his stance that the market, not government,
should determine how much workers are worth to employers.
"Obviously, it was a facetious notion to suspend the laws of gravity," he
told The Spokesman-Review by phone from Washington, D.C., about his "Obesity
Reduction and Health Promotion Act," which proposed helping Americans shed
pounds by cutting gravity by 10 percent. "The same is true of the act we
In his first few days on the job, Sali, 52, has been elected leader of the
small freshman class of Republicans, was invited to a meeting with President
Bush and voted against several bills sponsored by Democrats.
Although Sali spent 16 years as a state representative from Kuna, moving to
Washington, D.C., has taken some getting used to, he said.
"Things are so much bigger in terms of scale and scope here," he said. "In
the Idaho Legislature, for example, I didn't have any staff. It was just
He now has to deal with OSHA inspections of his office and training his
employees in ethics and anti-discrimination policies, he said.
As president of his class, he is helping fellow freshmen learn legislative
processes and procedures, he said. On the advice of past class presidents,
he is coordinating social events with new Democrats - both for building
relationships and for the "practical benefit" of moving legislation.
Sali and a small group of other legislators met with President Bush at the
White House last week to discuss the Iraq war.
"It was really something to be in there," he said. "It was kind of one of
those 'pinch me' moments."
He said Bush has "spent a lot of time listening" to military commanders and
will act on their advice.
"The notion that we're going to end sectarian violence over there, I think,
is not even on the table; the president expressed that through a number of
his people," he said, adding that making peace between warring factions is
"I don't think that's our job. I do think our job is to help make sure this
fledgling Iraqi government is going to stand on its own two feet," he said.
"There's a bunch of pent-up emotion over there and a lot of pent-up desire.
We may end up with a civil war before they get things straightened out. In
the affairs of mankind, sometimes that's what you need."
Sali has also participated in several House votes, including the
$2.10-an-hour minimum wage increase, to take effect over two years. The
increase is arbitrary, not tied to how much an employee's work is really
worth, he said.
"It's just to give people a perceived pay raise," he said. "The underlying
problem is government spending."
His obesity speech is characteristic of the congressman's outspoken style,
said former colleagues from the Idaho Legislature.
"That's his sense of humor," said Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls.
Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, agreed, recalling a time Sali proposed licensing
legislators when lawmakers discussed licensing contractors. Even though he
didn't plan to introduce it, he actually held up a completed bill.
"He's a very principled man, and he's not afraid to stand by himself if he
has to," Hart said. "I think he's already showing that. He hasn't changed
since he's been in the Legislature."
But Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, said using the logic of Sali's
obesity proposal, legislators should revoke government regulations that
benefit businesses as well.
Congressional Democrats will likely succeed in their "100 Hours" plan to
pass several bills within the first 100 working hours of the new Congress,
Sali said. But he said Democrats are circumventing the committee process and
claiming to know what Americans need, which is "elitist" and "arrogant."
"If they were trying to do what's right, they would be spending the time to
go through the committee process," he said. "I've always been a real
advocate of slowing down the legislative process and giving everyone the
opportunity to have their say."
So far, Sali has voted against "pay-as-you-go" rules designed to prevent
legislators from adding to the national debt. He said it will lead to "tax
increases combined with cuts to programs like defense."
He has also voted against legislation that would add another committee with
oversight power over intelligence. Adding one actually counters the Sept. 11
Commission's findings by adding another layer of bureaucracy, he said.
Sali has signed up to co-sponsor amendments to balance the budget and make
English the official U.S. language, he said.
He and fellow Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson are co-sponsors of H.R. 26,
which commends the Boise State University football team on its recent win
against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, he said. He attended the game, calling
it "an indescribable experience."
The bill will "probably pass on a consent calendar," he said. "It will be a
nice piece of congressional history."
Seeya round town, Moscow.
"Forty percent of the mass of every tree in the forest is crude oil. Stop
and think about that. We call them fossil fuels because they used to be
live stuff . . . now in the ground is turned into crude oil."
- Bill Sali (September 21, 2006)
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