House Republicans reportedly shut out of reconciliation conferences
Human Events is reporting that congressional Republicans are being actively shut out of the conference negotiations which will decide the size and scope of the economic recovery package which, just yesterday, passed the Senate. So much for bipartisanship. So much for a new, transparent Washington. So much for “Change We Can Believe In.”
This is a far cry from Barack Obama’s own promises which, articulated on his Change.gov Web site (dedicated to maintaining the post-election afterglow while he languished as president-elect), ensured that sunshine would rule the day in Barack Obama’s Washington:
End the Practice of Writing Legislation Behind Closed Doors: As president, Barack Obama will restore the American people’s trust in their government by making government more open and transparent. Obama will work to reform congressional rules to require all legislative sessions, including committee mark-ups and conference committees, to be conducted in public. By making these practices public, the American people will be able to hold their leaders accountable for wasteful spending and lawmakers won’t be able to slip favors for lobbyists into bills at the last minute.
As the Democrats meet behind closed doors–other than a token moment for news cameras, of course–to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the so-called “stimulus” package, expect the tax relief the Republicans pushed for in the Senate version to miraculously evaporate. Every measure intended to lessen the tax burden on the American middle class will be in jeopardy, just like every effort to rein in spending by Republicans will be out the window.
Here, the foxes are not only guarding the henhouse, but those foxes are guarding the henhouse in complete darkness . . . and haven’t eaten in 14 years. Just as sunlight and loving care grows tomatoes in a greenhouse, darkness and petty partisan game-playing breeds pork in the back rooms of Capitol Hill. As the Democrats have not exactly shown restraint with regard to including earmarks and pet projects when the resurgent Republicans and the world is watching, I shudder to think what will happen when the doors are closed, the scrutiny gone, and some of the worst tax-and-spend liberals America has ever seen are charged with extracting redundancy, reconciling and otherwise boiling down 1,500 pages of government-expanding legislation.
“I think the American people deserve to know,” Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, House Republican Conference Chairman, told Human Events, “that legislation that would comprise an amount equal to the entire discretionary budget of the United States of America is being crafted without a single House Republican in the room.”
Georgia Congressman and Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price
outside Speaker Pelosi’s office
While the final price tag on the bill could be deceptively low due to the eradication of tax relief measures, I worry about the spendthrift nature of the Democrats in charge. With the sunlight showing, with the scrutiny of the mainstream and alternative media, these Democrats have seen fit to not only include but also defend such measures as . . .
- $650 million for digital television converter box coupons
- $300 million for electric quasi-golf carts
- $1 billion for Amtrak, which hasn’t been profitable in half a century
- $400 million for global warming research
- $2.2 billion for carbon capture research
- $75 million for smoking cessation programs
- $335 million for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases
- $20 billion to hasten depreciation and write-off for equipment
- $209 million for work on deferred maintenance at Agricultural Research Service facilities
- $245 million for maintaining and modernizing the IT system of the Farm Service Agency
- $1 billion for “Periodic Censuses and Programs”
- $140 million for “climate data modeling”
- $600 million to buy and lease government plug-in and alternative fuel vehicles
- $1.2 billion in grants to states for youth summer jobs programs and other activities
- $600 million for “preparations” for socialized medicine
- $6 billion for energy efficiency projects on government buildings
. . . none of which would provide any sort of noticeable job creation or spurn any kind of marked economic growth. And this is only a small percentage of the contents of the two spending bills. What in the world can we expect from Democrats unencumbered by the glow of media scrutiny and that irritating, bothersome pesky thing known as public opinion?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve said it time and time again — no country, or person or company for that matter, can spend its way out of debt and economic crisis. It was tried in 1930s America, when the concern was low wages and low prices, and it got us seven more years of the Great Depression. It was tried in 1990s Japan, where the Japanese spent more, relatively speaking, than we are and it got them the “Lost Decade.” It won’t work.
Worse yet, even if we were to suspend disbelief and assume that spending our way out of debt, will work, that there will not be adverse consequences to devaluing our currency and becoming further beholden to China and other nations, the only kind of spending which could theoretically work would be stimulative spending, spending which creates jobs now and fosters economic growth down the road. None of the aforementioned items do that. None. The Democrats are not only going about things the wrong way, they’re going about things the wrong way — IN the wrong way.
This bill is already a nightmare, the manifestation of fourteen years of scheming rooted in bitterness. By this time next week, however, I fear that the legislation we’ve come to know and love during the voting process in the House and Senate will be nothing compared with the unchecked government intervention, unbridled government spending, and unapologetic disdain for capitalism contained in the final product which reaches President Obama’s desk completely devoid of Republican input — and the day this legislation gets signed will, I fear, go down among the worst days in American history.