In another sign that U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, is the presumptive opponent for Congressman Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, in this fall’s GOP primary, the Boustany camp fired off an email Monday afternoon accusing Landry of taking credit for legislative achievements with which the freshman lawmaker had nothing to do. Well-known by now is the fact that Landry’s 3rd Congressional District will cease to exist next year and his hometown of New Iberia will absorbed into Boustany’s 7th CD; if Landry wants to remain in Congress he’ll have to defeat Boustany this fall. Evidently Boustany senses the inevitability of a tilt against the Tea Party fave.

Issued by Boustany Communications Director Neal Patel, Monday’s message throws Landry’s own press releases back at him. Specifically, Landry’s office recently announced that per “the request of Congressman Jeff Landry (R, LA-03), the U.S. House Budget Committee has added language to its Fiscal Year 2013 budget that would fully allocate all Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) proceeds for its intended purpose: dredging our nation’s waterways. The Committee also followed Landry’s appeal that no funding be allocated to any effort which forces entities to violate their religious beliefs.”

Hogwash, says Boustany’s press director: “Both of these statements are completely false. Unfortunately, these lies are being peddled as truth ...”

Oh no he di’int! Did Boustany’s dude just call the Honorable Jeff Landry a liar? Indeed he did, and Patel goes to great length in the Monday email to set the record straight on allocations for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

Here’s the remainder of the email:

The House Budget Committee’s language for Fiscal Year 2013 (H. Con. Res. 112) does not provide any authority or direction to the House Appropriations Committee to increase annual funding levels for harbor maintenance. Per the language of the FY 2013 Budget Resolution Report:

“In addition, the budget acknowledges the importance of maintaining our ports and waterways to encourage commercial deep-draft navigation and economic competitiveness. In fiscal year 2012, a total of $898 million was appropriated from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund [HMTF], an increase of $109 million over the administration’s request. However, there continues to be a large balance in the fund and outstanding harbor maintenance needs.”

As you can see, the Report merely mentions the HMTF with an acknowledgement. That is a far cry from allocating funds.

Rep. Landry is misleading the public in an attempt to score political points and claim glory for non-existing achievements. For more detail on this fallacy, please read the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Fairness Coalition’s statement.

Rep. Landry’s statements above give the perception the problems surrounding the dredging of our nation’s ports have been solved. This couldn’t be further from the truth. To the contrary, the fight to protect our ports needs more support now than ever before. Industry leaders, government leaders in Congress, and job creators must still work together to ensure our ports are protected.

The most viable plan solution moving forward is H.R. 104, the RAMP Act, which was introduced by Rep. Boustany. It addresses the needs of our nation’s ports while garnering broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.  

Our Wednesday cover story, “Frankly Speaking,” lays out the case that Rep. Landry is trying so hard to build name recognition in Boustany’s 7th Congressional District that he broke federal law. Stay tuned.

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