If you’re wondering who loves fishermen more, Hollywood or Congress, the answer is Hollywood.
Actually, Congress isn’t showing fishermen any love. They started the new year by excising $150 million for fisheries disaster aid from a $60 billion emergency spending bill for recovery from Superstorm Sandy.
The money would support 2012 economic disaster declarations the Commerce Department made for the Northeast’s struggling groundfish fishery, Alaska’s chinook salmon run failures, and Mississippi’s oyster and blue crab fisheries.
But on Jan. 2, Republican House members objected to the inclusion of the fisheries aid money, which they called political “pork.”
Remember when “pork” referred to money allocated to ridiculous programs — you know, to do things like see if poodles can be trained to dance “Swan Lake” — that were a clear waste of taxpayer funds? Now apparently “pork” means providing economic assistance to get hardworking Americans through a difficult time.
Ultimately, the House whiffed on voting on the Sandy funds that day. Two days later they approved $9 billion for Sandy aid to keep National Flood Insurance Program claims payments flowing. Congress then scheduled a vote on the remaining $51 million for Sandy aid for mid January.
Now today comes news that Congress has rejected another attempt to procure fisheries disaster assistance for fishermen.
According to a news release issued by Massachusetts Democratic Congressmen Ed Markey, John Tierney and Bill Keating, House Republicans dealt fishermen another blow again late last night when they rejected all amendments the three legislators offered to restore the disaster assistance money to the Sandy relief bill.
It would seem Congress doesn’t much care about fishermen.
In contrast, Hollywood is treating fishermen well. Saw a wonderful story in the Gloucester Times today about two local fishermen, Dave Marciano and Dave Carraro, who star in the National Geographic channel’s hit reality TV show “Wicked Tuna.” The show about commercial bluefin tuna fishing is seen in 171 countries.
The duo took part in a promotional tour to kick off the show’s second season, and got a taste of what it’s like to be treated like a Hollywood star.
The tour took them to Los Angeles, where they took part in a Television Critics Association event, and to New York and Boston as well. They stayed in luxury hotels, enjoyed car service and rubbed elbows with TV and movie stars. People opened doors for them, and addressed them as “Sir.”
Sounds like they were treated well and with respect. Congress could learn something from the folks in Hollywood.