Rep. Lummis: Obama Engages in ‘Political Theater’

Thursday, 03 Nov 2011 12:34 PM

By Paul Scicchitano and Kathleen Walter

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A member of the Republican Study Committee, which unveiled its jobs plan on Wednesday, accused President Barack Obama of engaging in “political theater” with his recent series of executive orders and memorandums aimed at creating jobs.

“It is political theater for the purpose of reelection, not for the purpose of stimulating growth in the economy,” Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo. said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV. “I am the first one to concede that when Republicans ran the House, Senate and the presidency that the deficit grew and when Democrats ran the House, Senate and presidency the deficit grew even more, thereby stifling jobs. We need to work on a truly bipartisan basis and I am hopeful that this supercommittee is making the efforts that we have not seen the president make.”

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In contrast to Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan, the Republican Study Committee proposal incorporates a tax overhaul, reduced regulations and an expansion of domestic energy production. The chairman of the committee, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said he believes the RSC proposal would create more jobs than Obama has created. And the leader of the study committee’s budget taskforce dubbed the plan an “exact opposite” of Obama’s plan, according to The Hill.

“It deals with the need for a flatter, fairer tax code. It deals with the over regulation that has been emblematic of the last couple years here in Washington and it is a natural complement to the whole cut, cap and balance by adding the element of growth,” Lummis told Newsmax.TV. “So this is cut, cap, balance, and grow.”

Lummis took exception to administration characterizations that Republicans have unfairly blocked the president’s jobs plan. “We have passed that three-percent withholding provision that was in the president’s package,” she explains. “We have passed the three trade agreements that were in the president’s package and were in our package.”

In all, the House has already passed 15 bills that would create jobs with two more are on the way. “They are languishing in the U.S. Senate that is controlled by Democrats. So to call the Congress, especially the House, the do-nothing Republican Congress is absolutely a misnomer. He ought to be pointing to the do-nothing Senate Democrats.”

Moreover, she said, Obama has not personally made the effort to promote bipartisanship that has been a hallmark of other administrations. “One of the things that was notable about some of our former presidents is they would pick up the phone and call members of the leadership in Congress, whether they were Democrats or Republicans and try to work things out,” according to Lummis. “These folks seem to be working through their press secretaries —or worse yet — their campaign managers, which makes for a difficult situation if you really want to get something done.”

Lummis, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, said that Obama also talked about boosting domestic energy production, pursuing a more equitable tax code and undertaking a review of the avalanche of federal regulations.

“None of that has happened. We’ve seen one federal regulation repealed and that was one that had milk categorized as a hazardous waste for spill purposes,” she explains. “That doesn’t constitute an adequate effort when you figure that in this 10-month period alone we have seen nine-feet high Federal Registers — if you stack them one on one — in new regulations….. I don’t believe that’s a display of bipartisanship and I don’t believe it’s good for our country.”

Lummis supports the deficit reduction approach put forth by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and she urged the supercommittee to not only meet its Thanksgiving deadline to trim $1.2 trillion from the federal budget, but exceed it.

“I’d like to see them go $4 trillion, $5-, $6- $7 trillion,” says Lummis, adding that the economy is in rough shape. “We need to do something bold, and statesman-like and bipartisan to get past this. So I would encourage them not to limit their thinking, but to actually look even bigger and come up with a plan that is so dramatic, so consequential and comprehensive that real statesmen cannot resist voting for it.''

She agrees with House Speaker John Boehner that the major work of the supercommittee will focus on entitlements. “If we eliminated all of the discretionary spending in government, we still can’t balance the budget so it has to come in part from mandatory programs, absolutely has to. And we can do it in a way that reforms those programs without jeopardizing those people who are currently today on those programs. And all you need to do is look at the Paul Ryan budget to figure that out.”

This month is expected to mark the first time in modern history that the American deficit will surpass the national GDP and Lummis says that both political parties are to blame. “I’m confident that Republicans and Democrats are to blame for it, absolutely no question,” she acknowledges.

“I’m also confident that if we have the gumption and the statesman-like qualities to turn it around, we can. Now Paul Ryan put a plan out there that would do it without raising taxes. It takes a long time, but it’s absolutely doable without raising taxes. That’s the plan I support. Does that mean I have blinders on and won’t look at any other alternative? Absolutely not. I’m open to all alternatives and I hope the supercommittee is as well.”


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