Queens congressman denounces own absurd legislation

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Rice and cotton subsidies for New York? Sure, that makes sense. About as much sense, according to Rep. Anthony Weiner, as guaranteeing anti-terror funds to rural places like Wyoming.

The Queens Democrat and former candidate for New York mayor took the unusual step Tuesday of offering an amendment to a farm spending bill that would guarantee his state receives a minimum share of rice and cotton farm support.

The sarcastic congressman called his own measure “absurd” but said it was no more absurd than the current system of granting every state a minimum amount of homeland security funding.

New York lawmakers have long complained such minimums give rural states as much as $17 per resident in anti-terror grant money and New York slightly more than $2 per resident.

Densely populated states like New York and California receive hundreds of millions of dollars more in anti-terror funding, but it’s less per resident when divided by the number of people it’s meant to protect.

The Bush administration has sought in recent years to push more grant money toward cities, but big city lawmakers complain the formulas haven’t changed enough.

“Why would you propose such an absurd notion?” Weiner asked. “We should be able to agree that just as it makes sense for cotton farmers to get cotton subsidies, those at the greatest threat of homeland security attacks should get the greatest portion of homeland security funds.”

The amendment to a 2007 agriculture spending bill was quickly ruled out of order, prompting Weiner to again denounce his own measure while trying to make a point about anti-terror grants.

“I agree that it’s out of order,” he said. “I would ask you to keep in mind minimum guarantees are not the way we legislate around here.”


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