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Republicans have gained control of the House of Representatives. They now have the ability to cut the federal budget down to size and put us on the road to fiscal stability. This is their stated goal.
It doesn’t matter what kind of budget President Obama turns in. In doesn’t matter what the Senate does. Not a dime can be spent unless it is approved by the House of Representatives.
All the Republican-led House of Representatives has to do to control federal spending is put its collective foot down.
Bottom line: There can be no deficit spending next year, unless House Republican’s cave.
In all likelihood they will, unless you and I watch them like hawks and scream bloody murder when they waver. More important, we must support any and all attempts to hold the line against deficit spending.
When the Republicans took over Congress in 1995, they got off to a good start and did all the right things, but we were not paying attention. During their first big budget battle with the president, Mr. Clinton shut down the government. Republicans were blamed for the inconveniences, so they simply threw in the towel. The rest is history.
This must not happen again. The tea-party movement is key. Join a group in your neighborhood and encourage your group to speak out, educate, make phone calls, hold demonstrations in the street and do whatever it takes to get the word out when one of the 12 giant appropriations bills that make up the federal budget is under consideration.
All Republicans have to do is keep passing appropriations bills that will hold the line against deficit spending. If the Senate won’t go along, the worst that can happen is that Congress will be forced to pass a continuing resolution, which will keep the government funded at the present level.
Just how committed is the presumptive speaker, John Boehner, to making cuts or at least holding the line until the 2012 election? We’re about to find out.
House Republicans will get together soon to elect their leaders and hand out committee assignments. The committee chairmen are the ones who will shape the budget process. Will the seniority system prevail? If it does, it will spell disaster.
Jerry Lewis of California is the ranking member and former chairman of the all-important Appropriations Committee. Lewis is a notorious big spender, pulling down a shameful 39 percent on the latest Citizens Against Government Waste congressional scorecard. House Republicans put term limits on their committee chairman. Therefore, Lewis is ineligible for that post unless the new speaker gives him a waver.
Next in line, by seniority, is Hal Rogers of Kentucky who was responsible for 49 pork-barrel projects in this year’s budget, totaling over $98 million. In addition, he was named “Porker of the Month” for August for sponsoring a $5 million-a-year bill that could give federal funding to his daughter’s nonprofit organization that promotes wildlife protection for cheetahs. Nepotism is bad enough, but a $5 million-a-year bill to protect overseas wildlife while we are drowning in a sea of red ink? That’s hutzpah!
It would be a good idea to rotate the members of the Appropriations Committee with each new session of Congress, because the longer they are there the more they spend.
The Transportation Committee is one of the largest committees in Congress and has become synonymous with waste. John Mica of Florida is in line for that post. He scored a pitiful 57 percent on CAGW’s scorecard and last year defended pork-barrel projects, saying, “There’s no way in hell I would support banning earmarks!”
Agriculture is another area that should be in line for big cuts. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, yet another big spender, is in line for that post. He scored a deplorable 47 percent on the CAGW scorecard. Lucas is an ardent defender of Depression-era farm subsidies that primarily benefit wealthy landowners.
We need to send a message to Mr. Boehner now. He must abolish the “Old Boy Network” that helps keep wasteful lawmakers in power by putting them first in line at the government feeding trough. Instead, Boehner should choose his committee chairmen from among those who have shown a commitment to trim the budget and stop unconstitutional outlays. A rating of “Taxpayer Hero” by Citizens Against Government Waste or “Taxpayer’s Friend” by the National Taxpayer’s Union should be a minimum requirement.
If Boehner does that, we will know he is serious about getting the budget under control. If he doesn’t, we will know he’s more concerned about the welfare of entrenched politicians than protecting American taxpayers.