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Democrats love to paint the picture of Republicans cozying up to lobbyists. Their always either eating lunch in some impossibly upscale place where average folk couldn’t even sniff a reservation, or in some dark, smoke filled, bar smoking cigars and sipping Scotch, their pinky finger stuck out for good measure. The story goes, Republicans are in it for the money, Democrats are the ones left to defend the average people.
Yeah, well get ready to toss that fairy-tale out the window. ABC News reported today that key Democrats are gathering together an army of lobbyists and special interest groups who stand to lose big money from Republican’s proposed budget cuts.
In an e-mail obtained by ABC News , a top staffer for the key Senate Appropriations subcommittee called for a meeting of lobbyists and interest groups that would be affected by expected cuts to the Labor and Heath and Human Services budget. The Jan. 24 meeting was attended by approximately 400 people, sources told ABC, and served as a “call to arms” for those determined to fight Republican budget cuts.
“One thing everyone should be able to agree on now is that a rising tide lifts all boats, and that a higher [Labor, Health & Human Services] allocation improves the chances for every stakeholder group to receive more funding ,” the committee staffer for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, wrote in an e-mail inviting people to the meeting.
While Republicans are searching for ways to trim our exorbitant budget deficit, Democrats are looking for ways to preserve funding for their pet projects.
Our debt and deficit represent the largest threat to the next generation. Unless our fiscal path changes drastically, the economy will grow more slowly, the job market will become ever-more competitive, and wages will fall. At the end of the day our American Dream will consist of smaller houses, fewer opportunities, and reduced aspirations.
None of that matters to the special interests and lobbyists that Democrats are currently courting to help them fight to keep the government money train rolling. They care about maximizing their results today. That means ensuring teachers unions continue to receive cushy pensions, regardless of how they perform in the classroom. That means ensuring that the Health and Human Services budget doesn’t get cut so the hordes of new administrators don’t lose their plum government jobs. It means fighting for their individual interests over the interests of all Americans.
Paul Lindsay of the National Republican Congressional Committee wrote to reporters,
“House Democrats will stop at nothing to block efforts to cut spending and reduce the deficit. To help in this fight, they’ve enlisted their Senate Democrat colleagues and special interest lobbyists to use scare tactics in order to help continue their government spending binge that continues to inhibit job creation throughout the country.”
Normally, I’d say “scare tactics” is taking it a little far. But one of ABC’s sources inside the Democrats’ meeting with lobbyists wrote ,
“They said these evil House Republicans are here and they’re going to kill all these programs that support little kids, senior citizens, and health care. They’re trying to instill the fear of God that Republicans are basically going to blow up all these programs, kill these programs, defund them.”
Such hypocrisy must stop. Our deficit is not something that can be toyed with. Republicans’ effort to trim the budget represents a long overdue attempt at clamping down on the massive waste of taxpayer money that has defined Washington over the past decade. If Democrats are not going to join us in an honest discussion over how best to address our nation’s most fundamental problem, instead choosing to talk behind our back with lobbyists, then we will go it alone.
Solving our deficit is shaping up to be a battle between special interests and our future. Democrats are showing what side they are on.
by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee