Georgia’s representatives in the U.S. Senate, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, are again talking out of both sides of their mouth as they try to convince the electorate they are conservative stewards of the people’s money.
Both men are co-sponsoring the “Honest Expenditure Limitation Program (HELP) Act of 2010.” As Chambliss notes in his press release extolling his virtuous beliefs, “Balancing the federal budget is an obligation that those of us in Washington owe to future generations of Americans, and this legislation takes immediate steps to stop out-of-control federal spending.” Isakson parrots this line in his own press release, noting, “Congress should not continue on the path of saddling our children and grandchildren with insurmountable debt – it’s just wrong.” So, what does the bill do?
Specifically, the proposal would freeze discretionary spending at fiscal year 2008 levels for all appropriations, except those for the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Veterans Administration, and national security functions of the Department of Energy.
Bold talk, to be sure! What a dramatic move on their part! And when would this legislation, as sponsored by Chambliss and Isakson, to curb spending be fully in effect? 2015.
Five. Years. From. Now. In a word: pathetic.
The problem that spenders like Isakson and Chambliss continue to avoid from inside the cocoon that is the Beltway, is spending is out of control now and has been for many, many years under their watch. And waiting until 2015 is too long.
Make no mistake, this is not a complaint that the sky began to fall on January 20, 2009. This is a problem that has been growing for years under multiple administrations. For the big game about fiscal responsibility talked by Chambliss and Isakson, the publically held national debt, adjusted for inflation, grew by almost two trillion dollars during the last ten years. And who was at the helm in the U.S. Senate during that period? Why, our professed recent converts to the Church of Responsible Living.
Even before President Obama took office last year, Federal spending per household had increased almost $3,500.00 in the during the last administration. And, again, who was there with nary a complaint? You betcha: our men from Georgia.
Since President Obama has taken office, and the situation has dramatically deteriorated with his profligate spending now unleashed on the Republic, suddenly these alleged Republicans feel that Tough Action™ is necessary.
But where were they when unanimous consent was requested on the floor of the Senate to push through $10,000,000,000.00 of tax dollars just a few days ago and Senator Jim Bunning raised an objection? Sitting on their hands. After Bunning lifted his objection and the vote on spending the $10,000,000,000.00 was taken, who was front and center to make sure your tax dollars were promptly spent? See the roll call for yourself…both Chambliss and Isakson voted to keep the gravy train running.
And Chambliss even supports those who, like him, also just love the gravy train. People like Governor Charlie Crist in his neighboring state of Florida. Indeed, Chambliss will be helping out his good buddy next week by hosting a fundraiser for Crist, a man who has had no regrets about accepting Federal stimulus dollars. When true fiscal conservative Marco Rubio comes calling, Chambliss seems to be curiously silent and non-supportive.
Meanwhile, as Isakson this week is trying to convince his electorate he isn’t a big spender, just a few months ago he was pushing his grand proposal to spend $16,200,000,000.00 to offer tax credits for home purchases. It was a program which had, based on the cost to date of the program, equated to roughly spending $43,000 tax dollars for each home purchase.
As I covered here and here, Isakson had absolutely no problem (since he is a realtor by trade) to help out his own industry. Now that’s passed, he suddenly has had his Come To Jesus moment and thinks that spending is simply too lavish, too outlandish, to continue.
And, By God, it must be frozen at 2008 levels…in 2015. Five. Years. From. Now.
Chambliss and Isakson are not solely to blame for getting us into this predicament. The blame should be equally shared. But they are endemic of the problem in the Republican Party where words are seen in the highest echelons to be enough and that actual deeds can be thrown to the side.
Responsible spending is not a trendy codeword or a theme for a campaign. It is a way of life and must be demonstrated daily in each and every individual vote regarding Federal spending in the U.S. Senate. For Chambliss and Isakson, their actions are how they will be judged. Thus far, they are failing miserably.
The question we are left with: does anyone care?
Crossposted to RedState.com