Yesterday on CNN, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) strongly criticized President Obama for his expected decision (Obama signed the executive order this afternoon) to reverse the Bush administration’s limits on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, claiming that the move is a distraction from the country’s economic troubles:
CANTOR: [T]here’s a reason why this discussion is coming up this week. Why are we going and distracting ourselves from the economy? This is job number one; let’s focus on what needs to be done. […] We’ve got a new Congress now. And certainly that is something that we ought to be talking about, but let’s take care of business first. People are out of jobs. And, again, there is a reason why all this is happening right there — right now.
Except it might be difficult for Cantor to have any credibility in criticizing others for not, as he said, “tak[ing] care of business first.” Just in the first few months of the 111th Congress, Cantor has co-sponsored legislation that one might consider “distracting”:
— H. Res. 204: Congratulating the American Dental Association for its 150th year of working to improve the public’s oral health and promoting dentistry.
— H. Res. 18: A bill honoring the life, achievements and contributions of Paul Newman.
— H.R. 997: To declare English as the official language of the United States.
— H.R. 836: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce the tax on beer to its pre-1991 level, and for other purposes.
While the life and work of Paul Newman is certainly something to be celebrated, it seems Cantor doesn’t have a leg to stand on when criticizing others for distracting from the real issues.