Friday, November 18, 2011

Senate Rules Committee blocks Tea Party Debt Commission Hearing

Yesterday, I wrote about the Tea Party Debt Commission and their crowd-sourced budget cuts document which they planned to present to Congress yesterday. The hearing was supposed to be broadcast on CSPAN.

Unfortunately for the American people, the Senate Rules Committee closed down the hearing. From the press release:

Senate Rules Committee staff on Thursday removed microphones and locked the doors of a hearing room in the Russell Senate Office Building where an informal hearing was scheduled to review the findings of the Tea Party Debt Commission, a months-long crowd-sourced effort to develop a budget proposal that balances the budget, reduces the debt and gets America’s fiscal house back in order

“The Senate hasn’t been able to pass a budget resolution three years running. They have been unable to do their job, and now the Rules Committee is trying to prevent the American people from doing it for them,” said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks

“The Senate has refused to let the American people know what the highly secretive budget ‘Super Committee’ is doing behind closed doors,” Kibbe added. “We’ve come to Washington with the real solutions developed by the American people, and the Rules Committee won’t let their voices be heard in an open forum. It’s outrageous. They’re kicking us out of our own building because they’re afraid we are going to do something crazy like balance the budget.”

The hearing was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. in Hearing Room 325 of the Russell Senate Office Building, one of three senate office buildings across Constitution Avenue from the U.S. Capitol. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) sponsored the hearing so lawmakers and the public would have an opportunity to hear the findings of the Tea Party Debt Commission (TPDC).

Apparently, the Rules Committee, headed by Sen. Chuck Schumer, was "uncomfortable" with the word 'hearing.' This from a Senate that hasn't passed a budget in 932 days!!!

Despite the best efforts of Sen. Lee, the hearing had to be moved, resulting in no CSPAN coverage. The group was joined by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Reps. Joe Walsh (R-IL), Steve King (R-IA), Mike Pence (R-IN), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and Paul Broun (R-GA). Rep. Broun stated that he would help draft and sponsor legislation to implement the recommendations.

Nearly three years without a budget from the Senate and when the American people decide to their job for them, they lock them out.


You can view the PDF of the recommendations here. From the introduction:

[W]e offer a bold — but, we believe, feasible — plan that:

“Cuts, caps, and balances” federal spending.

Balances the budget in four years, and keeps it balanced, without tax hikes.

Closes an historically large budget gap, equal to almost one-tenth of our economy.

Reduces federal spending by $9.7 trillion over the next 10 years, as opposed to the President’splan to
increase spending by $2.3 trillion.

Shrinks the federal government from 24 percent of GDP — a level exceed only in World War II —to about 17.5 percent, in line with the postwar norm.

Stops the growth of the debt, and begins paying it down, with a goal of eliminating it within this generation.To achieve these goals, our plan, among other things:

Repeals ObamaCare in toto.

Eliminates four Cabinet agencies — Energy, Education, Commerce, and HUD — and reduces orprivatizes many others, including EPA, TSA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

Ends farm subsidies, student loans, and foreign aid to countries that don’t support us — luxuries we can no longer afford.

Saves Social Security and greatly improves future benefits by shifting ownership and control from government to individuals, through new SMART Accounts.

Gives Medicare seniors the right to opt into the Congressional health care plan.

Suspends pension contributions and COLAs for Members of Congress, whenever the budget is in deficit.In short, the Tea Party Budget enables us to end chronic deficits and pay down debt, while moving us back toward the kind of limited, constitutional government intended by our Founding Fathers. And it does all this without raising taxes. In fact, we make the so-called Bush tax cuts, and other expiring tax relief provisions, permanent. With these reforms, we can unburden the productive sector and get back to robust economic growth and rising living standards for all. With this plan, everyone benefits.

Other coverage:

Steve Eggleston: Senate Rules Committee freezes out Tea Party Debt Commission hearing

Video of the event:

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