August 8, 2011

August 8, 2011 | Commentary on Political Thought

Left's Tea Party Invective on Boil

The liberals’ anti-Tea Party rhetoric just keeps heating up.
 
Exhibit A:  Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.), who used a press conference last week to blame Republicans and the Tea Party for a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  He called the situation a “hostage-taking” and argued that “it’s as if someone puts a gun to your head and says give me your money.”  He used a hand gesture to point a fake gun at reporters and then put the fake gun to his head and claimed that Republicans were willing to kill the hostage (the FAA) to get what they want.
 
Also last week, Rep. Mike Doyle (D.-Pa.) said in a closed-door meeting that the Tea Party's “small group of terrorists” used the debt-ceiling debate to make it “impossible to spend any money.” Vice President Joe Biden​ reportedly agreed with Doyle and likened members of the Tea Party to “terrorists.” Tea Partiers shouldn’t fear such leftist smears.  Liberals are trying to demonize a movement that wants a constitutional federal government, less spending, low taxes and more freedom.  Oh, how very “extreme” and “terroristic.”
 
Reid Causes FAA Shutdown
 
Senate liberals want to blame conservatives for blocking a bill to reauthorize the FAA.  They ought to look in the mirror.
 
The House-passed FAA reauthorization has been blocked by Senate liberals because they want a new bill that makes it easier for unions to organize and they want to continue using your tax dollars in subsidies for small airports.  Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.) referred to the House-passed FAA reauthorization as a “hostage-taking,” and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claimed that “we are not going to be held hostage.”  Guess they were both borrowing from the Schumer playbook.
 
The House did its part, yet the Senate didn’t even begin debate.  Reid let the Senate go on vacation until September without resolving this conflict, yet he blames Republicans.  He clearly doesn’t care all that much about the health of the FAA “hostage” if he’s unwilling to keep the Senate in session to negotiate a deal on a reauthorization bill.
 
The bad publicity apparently got too much for Reid and late last Thursday he announced that some sort of agreement had been worked out.
 
Super Congress
 
A provision in the budget bill to increase the debt limit created a bipartisan bicameral commission—a “Super Congress” some call it.  Conservatives worry that liberals might use the Super Congress to gut defense programs and impose higher taxes.
 
The new joint congressional committee will have 12 members, six from the House and six from Senate equally divided between the parties.  Their task:  Find $1.5 trillion in savings.
 
Sen. David Vitter (R.-La.) has submitted legislation, the Super Committee Sunshine Act, to force transparency on this new commission.  The commission has the power to submit legislation that will be filibuster-proof and must be considered by the House.
 
On or before Nov. 23, Congress is mandated by law to vote on the recommendations of the commission.  If Congress doesn’t pass the legislation or passes only smaller cuts by Dec. 23, on Jan. 2, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is empowered to cut defense spending and some nondefense categories of spending allowed under the law.
 
Americans need to keep a close eye on this not-so-Super Congress to make sure its members aren’t unduly influenced by lobbyists and are operating in a transparent manner.
 
Recess Appointments Blocked
 
The House is blocking the President’s power to load his administration with recess appointments during the August recess by staying in pro-forma session until September.  This allows Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) to call the House in when needed to conduct business during the August recess.  This tactic prevents President Obama from circumventing the normal nominating process to install a new super-regulator to head the misnamed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
 
The nominee for director, former Ohio Attoney General Richard Cordray, has drawn fire from Senate Republicans because they want to see structural reforms in the new bureau before any nominee is allowed to take the position.
 
Diane Katz of The Heritage Foundation argues that the bureau “will exert unparalleled powers, including consolidated and expanded regulatory authority over credit cards, mortgages, student loans, savings and checking accounts and almost every other consumer financial product and service.”  Blocking Cordray gives Senate conservatives the power to force reform on the bureau.

Brian H. Darling is senior fellow for Government Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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Brian Darling Senior Fellow for Government Studies
Government Studies

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First appeared in Human Events