Jul 7, 2011

Tea Party Senators Force Reid To Focus On Spending, Debt and Deficit Crisis

Guest Column by Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com

Normally, I would agree with nineteenth century New York Judge Gideon Tucker that, “No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session,” and figure that the Senate leaving Washington is a good thing.

However, the successful effort of Tea Party Senators to buck the establishment and force the Senate to skip the Fourth of July recess and stay in session to work on solving the spending, debt and deficit crisis confirms what I’ve been saying for two years – the Tea Party can succeed in changing Washington.

Freshman GOP senators, including Paul, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Marco Rubio of Florida, threatened a recess revolt that would force both parties to take an embarrassing vote to skip town.

Naturally, this minor victory in the war to force the federal government back into its constitutional boundaries engendered one of Democrat Harry Reid’s typical political stunts; canceling the Senate’s traditional July 4 recess to hold a vote in favor of Obama’s adventure in Libya.

Tea Party-backed Senators, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) spent the weekend calling colleagues to urge a "no" vote, and by the afternoon it became clear that Democrats wouldn't be able to line up the 60 votes needed to proceed with the Libya resolution.

“The United States Senate has not passed a budget in over two years. And I’ve certainly understood how broken Washington is,” Tea Party-backed Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin told reporters after Reid scrapped the Libya vote. “The Senate is basically fiddling as America goes bankrupt.”

Reid responded by proposing a resolution expressing a sense of the Senate that households earning $1 million or more need to make "a more meaningful contribution to the deficit reduction effort."

Ayotte nailed Reid in a statement on the schedule change, ""We cannot tax our way out of more than $14.3 trillion in debt… Instead of bringing forth a budget plan, a debt limit proposal, or a Balanced Budget Amendment, the majority leader is wasting valuable time on a political stunt that will do nothing to substantively address our debt problem.”

"This isn't a trade-off of spending cuts for tax increases," Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania told Fox News. Toomey noted that Democrats in Congress and the administration know that a $3.6 trillion budget is just too big, especially when the government is working with a $1.4 trillion deficit.

Echoing the feelings of millions of Tea Party and conservative movement activists, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul set the tone for the next month’s debate on the spending, debt and deficit crisis, “Last week a group of us said, ‘No more.’ We do not want to discuss anything else until we start discussing solutions for the debt, solutions for the looming debt crisis. We said, ‘No more…”

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