I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge…I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist.Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, breaking ranks with the militant anti-tax wing of his party. 41 senators have signed Norquist’s pledge—which is essentially a promise to never, ever vote for any revenue or tax increase—but while the document used to be Republican orthodoxy, its influence is showing signs of crumbling. Chambliss’ colleagues Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Tom Coburn have all recently called for Republicans to abandon the pledge, as has former governor Jeb Bush. While Norquist is a very powerful figure in DC, he isn’t an elected official. He derives power solely from Republicans’ decision to grant him power, and if their subservience to his demands goes away, so does the bulk of his political influence. source
The best way for ethanol to survive is to stand on its own two feet, without spending something we don’t have to get something we’re going to have anyway.Sen. Tom Coburn • Making an argument against handing out ethanol subsidies — which cut gas prices but also cost the federal government $6 billion per year. An amendment to kill the subsidies passed both the House and Senate. In the case of the Senate, it was a straight-up bipartisan vote: 73-27. And a number of groups — including environmental groups — note that the subsidies are no longer needed because the federal government already requires refineries to mix ethanol and gasoline. However, don’t get too excited, budget hounds: The amendment is tied to an economic development bill that likely will not pass. source (via • follow)
It makes us all look like jackasses. Anybody that says that we don’t look like fools up here hasn’t read the report.Sen. Tom Coburn • Expressing his frustration over the the Government Accountability Office’s report that suggests that there are large amounts of overlap in the federal government, and that by cutting them, we could save billions of dollars each year. Coburn, who pushed for the report as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, says that any changes to the budget should get rid of wasteful or duplicative programs. Coburn’s office counts 33 areas where programs overlap and hundreds of individual programs, by the way. source (via • follow)
In recent weeks, Tommy Boy Coburn has been making his hack-slash budget views very known. In the last couple weeks, his meddling has even led to the omnibus spending bill (which would’ve, among other things, paid for health care) getting pushed back. He’s been putting attention on earmarks and other major factors, so when Coburn showed up on Fox News Sunday today, it’s obvious what he was there for. He wanted to get his two cents in on wasteful spending. Here’s the key part (which we skipped ahead for), where he talks about redundancy. Is he right? Is the redundancy what’s killing us? And why did Tom Coburn grow a beard, anyway, guys?
» OK, Tom, you’ve made your point: Democratic and Republican leaders alike in the Senate are taking a lot of federal money and giving it to the states. But you’re trying to deceive us. Here’s why; see, a trillion dollars is a thousand billion by our last count. And Tom, who’s anti-earmark, is pointing out how wrong it is for Senate leaders to throw roughly two-thousandths of the entire spending bill back to the states, $2.2 billion which would get spent by the federal government otherwise. (The total amount, $8.3 billion, is still absurdly tiny in comparison to the entire spending bill.) To put it another way, Tommy Boy’s trying to make hay out of an issue that’s actually needle-sized. You know what the real problem is? The hay. Not the needle. (And in case you’re wondering, these earmarks were made earlier this year, before the current anti-earmark vibe hit.)
Our debt crisis is a threat not just to our way of life but to our national survival. And the threat that we face is so real and so close that we do not have further time for gridlock or inaction. It’s necessary that we take strong, aggressive action now.Idaho Sen. (and deficit committee member) Mike Crapo • Revealing that he, along with Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, would be voting in favor of the deficit committee’s proposal Friday. That means that, along with retiring Sen. Judd Gregg, three Republicans would be voting to send the proposal for a vote in Congress. Problem is, that brings the grand total up to around nine votes. Fourteen of the nineteen members need to vote yes. At least three other Republicans (including our boy Paul Ryan) and one Democrat (Max Baucus) will vote against it. But that may not matter, according to committee co-chairman Alan Simpson. ”Whether we get two votes or 18, this baby ain’t goin’ away,” he said. He’s right; the ideas will remain no matter what happens. source (via • follow)