Yesterday, at the request of the House Republicans, former Solicitor General Paul Clement filed a motion to intervene in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Clement’s firm is charging less than their typical $900 an hour to defend the discriminatory law, but taxpayers will still be on the hook for a rate of “$520.00 per hour for all reasonable attorney time” with “a sum not to exceed $500,000.00.” “[S]hould the $500,000 cap be reached before the Litigation is complete, and if the cap has not then been raised by written agreement…contractor shall not be obligated to continue providing legal services under this Agreement,” the contrast states, suggesting that the government may end up paying much more for Clement’s services.
Boehner’s willingness to spend taxpayer dollars defending DOMA contrasts sharply with the GOP’s rhetoric from last week. Then, Republicans almost brought the federal government to a standstill over what they perceived as out of control spending, holding out until the very last minute to secure a deal. Boehner voted for the agreement, even as he insisted that “we need to cut more” and promised, “there are many more steps, more cuts, and more reforms to come.” The contrast is quite stark: 11 days ago, the GOP was willing to shutdown the government over the smallest of cuts, now it is paying a top lawyer $520 an hour to undo some of those hard-earned savings. Below is a list of the cuts that will likely be diminished if Republicans seriously pursue their DOMA defense:
- Agriculture Department Administration: – $1M from FY11
- Public Telecommunication Facilities Planning: – $1M from FY11
- Non-defense Environmental Clean Up: – $1M from FY11
- Bureau of Public Dept: -$1M from FY11
- Geographic Programs: -$1M from FY11
- Rural Health Programs: -$1M from FY11
On Friday, Boehner said, “The American people have demanded that the Washington spending binge end because they understand that we can’t continue to spend money we don’t have.”
From Pelosi’s office:
For $500,000, you could provide Pell Grants for 131 college students…
For $500,000 you could enroll an additional 1,005 nutritionally-at-risk women and children up to age 5 in the WIC program…
For $500,000 you could enroll an additional 64 children in Head Start…
For $500,000 you could help pay the heating and cooling bills for 1,039 seniors and other struggling households…
But to spend $500,000 of taxpayer money to defend discrimination is PRICELESS.