The GOP Trap

Ed Lasky
The Red Tide is spreading across the nation but we should be wary what it might carry to shore. As Republicans look forward to sweeping the House and increasing the number of Republicans in the Senate will they hear the voices of the people regarding spending and earmarks or will they default to the spending mode with earmarks galore?

That is a risk that some, including Betsy McCaughey (former deputy Governor of New York), see emerging when contemplating the leadership line-up in Congress.
She writes of this Seniority Trap in today's New York Post:

Already, GOP chiefs are divvying up key committee chairmanships -- with the same people who ran things last time 'round jockeying to get their power back. If that happens, voters who supported Republican candidates to rein in the cost of government will be defeated after the election by the seniority system in Washington.

Tea Party candidates promised voters they'd end profligate spending, ear marks and political deal-making. Those who win tomorrow must be heard and heeded when they get to Washington, rather than relegated to unimportant jobs.

One of the most powerful jobs in the House is to chair the Appropriations Committee, which divides up billions of dollars of federal funds. It's the favor factory. Appropriators rise to top leadership positions in both parties because they decide whose pet projects get funded. By definition, reining in federal spending means reining in the appropriators' power.

The leading contender for Appropriations Committee chair is Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, a prototype of the lifelong politician. He's been in Congress 32 years. He rose to the chairmanship in 2005 and stayed on as ranking minority member when the GOP lost the House in 2006.

Under GOP House rules, Lewis shouldn't be able to retain his party's top slot on the committee for more than three terms, but Lewis is expected to ask for a waiver -- and likely will get it.

Such decisions are made by the Republican House Steering Committee -- whose chairman, Rep. John Boehner, will become speaker if voters give Republicans the House majority. The deliberations on bestowing chairmanships are secret.

Term limits (a key plank in the Contract With America) were designed to try to prevent politicians who went native and allowed the Washington ethos of spend-spend-spend to control them to gather too much power. Waivers - like all waivers - are a tool that allows leadership to bestow favors and run the risk of not only angering voters but also restoring to senior positions Republicans who have not gotten the memo yet: we don't want the same orgy of spending we have seen over the years (including the Bush era).

Other committee chairmanships are at stake in committees that can also turn the printing presses on full-time including the Rules Committee (a key committee that controls the flow of legislation) and the Energy and Commerce Committee. These, too, may return to old hands.

Message to Washington: we want Change all right. We want to keep our nation's balance sheet as clean as possible, want the earmarks and wasteful spending to end (Congressman Darrell Issa will be a very busy man exploring the waste behind the so-called stimulus plan), and want to shield our children from your reckless habits.

The people have spoken.

They disregard the message at their own peril.



The Red Tide is spreading across the nation but we should be wary what it might carry to shore. As Republicans look forward to sweeping the House and increasing the number of Republicans in the Senate will they hear the voices of the people regarding spending and earmarks or will they default to the spending mode with earmarks galore?

That is a risk that some, including Betsy McCaughey (former deputy Governor of New York), see emerging when contemplating the leadership line-up in Congress.

She writes of this Seniority Trap in today's New York Post:

Already, GOP chiefs are divvying up key committee chairmanships -- with the same people who ran things last time 'round jockeying to get their power back. If that happens, voters who supported Republican candidates to rein in the cost of government will be defeated after the election by the seniority system in Washington.

Tea Party candidates promised voters they'd end profligate spending, ear marks and political deal-making. Those who win tomorrow must be heard and heeded when they get to Washington, rather than relegated to unimportant jobs.

One of the most powerful jobs in the House is to chair the Appropriations Committee, which divides up billions of dollars of federal funds. It's the favor factory. Appropriators rise to top leadership positions in both parties because they decide whose pet projects get funded. By definition, reining in federal spending means reining in the appropriators' power.

The leading contender for Appropriations Committee chair is Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, a prototype of the lifelong politician. He's been in Congress 32 years. He rose to the chairmanship in 2005 and stayed on as ranking minority member when the GOP lost the House in 2006.

Under GOP House rules, Lewis shouldn't be able to retain his party's top slot on the committee for more than three terms, but Lewis is expected to ask for a waiver -- and likely will get it.

Such decisions are made by the Republican House Steering Committee -- whose chairman, Rep. John Boehner, will become speaker if voters give Republicans the House majority. The deliberations on bestowing chairmanships are secret.

Term limits (a key plank in the Contract With America) were designed to try to prevent politicians who went native and allowed the Washington ethos of spend-spend-spend to control them to gather too much power. Waivers - like all waivers - are a tool that allows leadership to bestow favors and run the risk of not only angering voters but also restoring to senior positions Republicans who have not gotten the memo yet: we don't want the same orgy of spending we have seen over the years (including the Bush era).

Other committee chairmanships are at stake in committees that can also turn the printing presses on full-time including the Rules Committee (a key committee that controls the flow of legislation) and the Energy and Commerce Committee. These, too, may return to old hands.

Message to Washington: we want Change all right. We want to keep our nation's balance sheet as clean as possible, want the earmarks and wasteful spending to end (Congressman Darrell Issa will be a very busy man exploring the waste behind the so-called stimulus plan), and want to shield our children from your reckless habits.

The people have spoken.

They disregard the message at their own peril.