By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com October 19 2011 7:25 PM ET
Mike Honda, a Democrat representing California's Silicon Valley, wants a House hearing to address the rapidly rising price tag for keeping the Defense of Marriage Act alive — where legal bills could now total $1.5 million.
Honda is a ranking member of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee. In a letter sent yesterday to the Subcommittee’s Chairman — Ander Crenshaw (R-Florida) — Honda asked for a hearing so the American people can understand why the House is spending taxpayers' money on the defense of DOMA. Initially, House leadership agreed to spend no more than $500,000 on legal services for DOMA. The House general counsel upped that amount to $750,000, then said up to $1.5 million can be spent with written consent.
"In a time of professed fiscal responsibility, it is unconscionable for the House Republican Leadership to continue to spend taxpayer money to protect discrimination, especially through a process that has, thus far, lacked any semblance of transparency," reads the letter. "I ask that you immediately hold a hearing on this matter so that we can shine light on this irresponsible, backdoor use of taxpayer money. Our subcommittee and the American people deserve to know why the House Republican Leadership is pursuing this effort to protect a discriminatory law, an effort which, at a time of high unemployment, only serves to create jobs for Speaker Boehner’s hand-picked, high-priced lawyers. We also deserve to know why the cost has escalated so rapidly in such a short time, and how much the Republican Leadership plans to spend on this unwise endeavor. We should not be handing over a blank check that will allow unlimited taxpayer dollars to be spent on the Republican Leadership’s political agenda."