By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Enough beating up on a poor mouse! During debate on the stimulus package in Congress this week, a Republican House Press Secretary tried to score political points by beating up on an endangered species:
"It was the mouse that roared.
A 1-inch-tall endangered rodent found in the marshes of San Jose and other San Francisco Bay cities became a national symbol of wasteful spending Thursday for opponents of President Obama's stimulus plans....Trouble is, the facts were mostly wrong. But the lightning speed of Internet news enabled it to take on urban legend stature within hours.
The tale began Wednesday, when Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent an e-mail to reporters and political leaders that noted Republican staff members have been asking federal agencies how they would spend the stimulus money.
One response? Thirty million dollars for wetland restoration in the San Francisco Bay Area — including work to protect the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse," wrote Steel."
Republicans need to learn that after eight years of the Bush administration's rampant environmental destruction, pollution and degradation, they will not score points with the American people by poking fun at Democrats trying to restore the environment. And Mr. Steel needs to learn to start getting his facts straight.
"Then where did the $30 million figure come from, if it's not in the bill? It turns out that $30 million is the total amount that the California Coastal Conservancy, a state agency, recommended more than a month ago to numerous federal agencies, looking for lists of "shovel ready" projects as part of the stimulus bill planning.
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