Ward Room
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Walsh Accused of Billnapping

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Having offended veterans by complaining his opponent spends too much time talking about her military service, Rep. Joe Walsh has found a way to make it up to them.

    Walsh recently introduced the Renovate and Enhance Veterans’ Meeting Halls and Posts Act, which would use community development block grants to refurbish American Legion and VFW halls.

    Walsh’s bill is for a noble cause, but that’s not why it’s getting attention in Washington. It’s getting attention because it’s almost the exact same bill introduced in 2010 by Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y. And now Bishop is accusing Walsh of billnapping.

    “The REVAMP Act has been a great idea ever since Congressman Bishop came up with the concept in 2009, long before Joe Walsh had been elected to Congress,” Oliver Longwell, Bishop’s communications director, told POLITICO. “To pirate a legislative proposal without consideration of the original author is really unprecedented…Perhaps it’s just a rookie mistake, but it’s a reflection of the total collapse of collegiality that has characterized the House since it came under the influence of the tea party, even on what should be the most bipartisan of issues: assisting our veterans.”

    Walsh’s spokesman, Justin Roth, responded that “members introducing other member’s legislation that has been dormant for a year is not uncommon. It was misstep by our office that he was not asked.”

    Walsh is now offering to let Bishop be lead co-sponsor on the bill, but Bishop -- who only learned about the hijacking a week and a half ago -- says it’s too late for bipartisanship.

    Somehow, even when Walsh tries to do something uncontroversial, like help out veterans, he ends up being controversial. It’s a talent he has.   

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