03/03/2010 (9:52 am)
Sen. Jim Bunning has just done the American people a huge favor, and we need to take careful note. He’s demonstrated for us all which Senators can be trusted to restore fiscal sanity to Congress, and which cannot. The number who can is small. I list them at the end of this post.
If you want the full description of the week-long flap Bunning created in the Senate, Michelle Malkin and the Heritage Foundation provide a reasonable level of detail. I will summarize the affair here.
A month ago, Democrats passed a bill in the Senate called “Paygo,” or Pay-As-You-Go, on a party line vote. Paygo basically requires the Senate to specify, in every bill that requires spending, where the money is going to come from. Its goal, on the surface, is to block bills that add to the deficit. Democrats passed the bill because they want to look like they’re concerned about the deficits (which they’ve quadrupled since they took over Congress.) Republicans opposed the bill because they suspected it was a cover to raise taxes dramatically.
I say “they want to look like they’re concerned” because the Senate has tried Paygo before, and it accomplished nothing. Paygo was in force from 1991 through 2002, During that period, the Senate approved $700 billion in entitlement expansions and tax cuts that were not paid for, in violation of the Paygo principle. They did it by adding to each bill a clause stating that the bill was an “emergency” bill, the exception permitted in Paygo. And yes, Democrats, the Republicans controlled the Senate for a good portion of that period. There are guilty parties on both sides.
Last week, true to form, the Senate proposed a $15 billion extension of unemployment and other benefits for which only $5 billion was paid for in the bill. They excused the other $10 billion by declaring the bill an “emergency” bill. And this is where Sen. Bunning jumped in.
Sen. Harry Reid, Majority Leader, attempted to pass the extension bill, which was actually a House bill (H.R. 4691,) by unanimous consent. Bunning simply stood up and said “I object.” This prevents the bill from passing by unanimous consent, and requires debate, cloture, and a roll call vote instead. What Bunning insisted on, in his objection, was that the Senate add specific measures to the bill that would explain where the $10 billion was going to come from; he suggested that they designate $10 billion from the TARP funds that have not been spent yet.
The Democrats proved what complete, vicious liars they are by demagoguing the matter for the better part of a week. They could simply have held discussion and the roll call vote, which would have prevented the delay. The delay was completely unnecessary, and occurred solely because the Democrats did not want their names associated with the passage of this bill that violates Paygo.
Rather than go on record, the Democrats went berserk. They blamed Bunning for the delay they were causing, by inaccurately calling the move a filibuster. They publicly flogged Bunning for voting against Paygo a month ago. They tried their best to make him look like a monster stealing bread out of the mouths of starving children. They screeched about Iraq war spending, as though that justifies irresponsible behavior here. They publicized it when he cursed from the back row. They kicked and screamed and lied like the infantile tantrum-throwers that they are.
And more than half the Republicans in the Senate blanched and ran away, too cowardly to stand by principle.
The nation is fiscally doomed. The dollar is about to collapse. Congress has created a fiscal nightmare over the past 70 years, and the concern being shown today is too small and too late by many orders of magnitude. But if the nation is ever going to return to sanity, and if the nation is even going to survive the coming collapse, we need representatives in the government who have the courage to enforce fiscal discipline. Specifically, what they will need the courage to do is what Bunning is doing here: 1) demanding that everything be paid for, and 2) withstanding vicious Democrats calling them names, because that’s what they’re going to do every time.
The Senate held the roll call vote last night, after dismissing on a procedural technicality an amendment to pay for the bill. We now know which Senators have the backbone at least to begin to actually solve the fiscal nightmare. Whether they have the stones to actually cut spending programs is another, more serious question, but one for another day.
Here are the names of the Senators who either voted against the bill in its fiscally irresponsible form, or did not vote:
Those who voted in favor of the bill lack the stomach to force the Senate to behave in a fiscally responsible manner. If your Senator’s name is not on this list, I recommend that you work to dump their cowardly ass on the pavement the next time they come up for re-election. It’s the ones on the “Nay” list who have been shown by the Bunning Barometer to have at least a little of the stuff that restoring fiscal sanity will require.
Note that there is not a single Democrat among the “Nays” — and frankly, we already know all we need to know about Sens. Byrd and Lautenberg, who did not vote. All the Democratic Senators deserve to be thrown into the sea with millstones around their necks. And they can take the 25 chicken-shit Republican Senators with them.
Thank you for the barometer, Senator Bunning. I’m sorry you’ve decided to retire. We need more like you.
5 Comments »
Comment by suek
You’re right – it _was_ a barometer. I’m not sure you’re right about Bunning – I don’t know anything about him. This could be the broken clock being right. You’re also right in that it tells us an awful lot about the future of the economy, and an awful lot about our present group of GOP senators. It doesn’t look good.
I don’t see McCain’s name on that list. That tells me something too.
Comment by suek
Maybe there’s hope yet…
Comment by suek
This is a must read:
Comment by Chris
Probably the only reason Bunning was able to stand up for this was the fact that he is not running.
More evidence for term limits.
Comment by John Cooper
I’m proud to see my Sen. Burr on the short list of good guys. (Remote from Anchorage)