"If You Are Not For This Commission, Than What Are You For?"
"If you are not for this commission, than what are you for?" was Republican Senator George Voinovich's reaction to fellow Republicans who voted against the creation of the Conrad-Gregg fiscal commission yesterday in the Senate. As we reported yesterday in The Bottom Line, the commission fell short of the 60 votes needed in order to pass. Twenty-three Republicans voted along with 22 Democrats to defeat the commission. The list of votes can be seen here.
Voinovich, who is going to retire this year, came back swinging against the Senators who helped defeat the commission. He said (courtesy of The Hill):
I was disappointed in Sen. [Sherrod] Brown [D] from Ohio for opposing it. I'd like to know why he opposed it. If he's opposing it, what is he for? Same question to Mitch McConnell: Mitch, if you don't like it — he came out for this last year, as The Washington Post pointed out, six times on the floor last year — and he's backed off. And this issue is, Why is he backing off?
I think that for the Republican Party, one of the important things — first of all, from a substantive view, we have to get on with this. I think that if the public perceives that the Republican Party is playing political games and putting covering people's hides and whose main goal in life is to see how many more Republicans we can get in the Senate and the House, and the public interest be damned because this is the theory that we're going to create an environment that's going to be better — I think it's going to backfire.
This came on the heels of a statement Voinovich released Monday commending President Obama for throwing his support behind the Conrad-Gregg commission, and that described the differences there would be between a bipartisan Congressional commission and one created by the executive branch.
CRFB commends Voinovich's challenge to Republicans to support the creation of a bipartisan commission. As we stated in a press release Monday on the creation of a statutory commission, a commission can "help to jump-start the critical process of crafting a sensible fiscal plan for the country, and make that process just a little bit easier." We recognize that the commission would not be a cure-all, but could help Congress to address the urgent budget challenges that face them.
We agree with Senator Voinovich: if you are not for the Commission than show us what you are for. We have created a spending challenge for readers to show us how they would close the budget gap. Check out the latest response.