Kurt Schrader blows the whistle

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Congressman Kurt Schrader is blowing the whistle on the hypocrisy of the new House Republican majority. In an op-ed in the Oregonian, he noted that the GOP's new rules (largely organized by Oregon's own Rep. Greg Walden) mandate that all new bills go through a scheduled committee process - and open for amendments.

Unfortunately, our new majority leadership seems to pick and chose when to abide by those principles. They promised every bill would go through the committee process and be open to amendments. But they seem intent on waiving that rule when it's politically convenient.

In fact the health care reform legislation that elicited the most concern from the public about input and process over the last two years is the first, of what I fear will be many, exceptions to the open process. This week the House passed a bill repealing that law that came to the floor without a single committee hearing and with no opportunity for amendments.

Not only that, Schrader notes that the Republicans have abandoned the long-held bipartisan rule that all bills will be scored by the Congressional Budget Office for their impact on the debt and deficit.

But the hypocrisy doesn't end there. Like the Bush years, this Congress is attempting to play games with war funding to prevent it from counting toward the deficit.

The new Republican majority has also given the new Budget Committee chairman, Paul Ryan, unilateral power to ignore the nonpartisan CBO and just develop his own set of numbers. This is not a good way to start a new bipartisan process for transparency and fiscal responsibility.

It's going to be easy for the Republicans to claim that their proposals - especially tax cuts - reduce the deficit. After all, if you ignore professional analysis, and rely instead on the magic asterisk, well, hey, anything is possible!

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    As the former Co-Chair of the Oregon Legislature's Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Schrader has a lot of experience with the issues he wrote about and was a stickler for honesty in the analysis of the numbers. I did not always agree with him, but I do know he always had good reasons for his opinions and always had the facts to support them. In Oregon we did not have the money to waste on bad data, and neither does the United States.

    I thought he would be a very useful Congressman because of this expertise. By temperament, he is analytic and careful which makes him a great thorn in the side of the current US House leadership. Ignoring CBO can only cost money and reduce the good outcomes taxpayers and citizens deserve. Violating the procedures the Leadership set up itself means they will continue to blunder badly and reach ideological rather than effective and realistic solutions.

    Bravo, Kurt. Keep it up!

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