Just two days after he was elected as the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele has gone on the attack against President Obama’s cabinet choices and stimulus bill.
He said Republicans should oppose former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle’s nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services. Daschle has acknowledged that he had to pay over a hundred thousand dollars in back taxes and interest.
“We’ve already let one cat out of the bag with [Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner,” Steele told USA Today on Sunday, referring to another cabinet choice who did not pay all the taxes he owed.
“So what’s the standard to be a Cabinet secretary? You don’t have to pay your taxes? Come on.”
The former Maryland lieutenant governor said the GOP should also try to keep Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire from becoming Obama’s Commerce secretary, despite assurances that the state’s Democratic governor would appoint a Republican to replace him in the Senate.
“We better be very suspicious,” Steele said.
Steele praised House Republicans for opposing the president’s stimulus package and said Senate Republicans should oppose the bill in the upper house if it’s equally bad, USA Today reported.
He insisted that opposing the stimulus bill does not indicate a lack of compassion.
“Tax policy is not about compassion,” he said. “It’s about what makes … fiscal tense for an economy in trouble.”
Steele, the GOP’s first black chairman, said his election to head his party “had nothing to do with race,” and added: “Having a black president of the United States and a black leader of the opposition is a wonderful testament to our country.”
Observers believe Steele can help bring the Republican message to blacks, Hispanics, suburbanites and other fast-growing groups that have shunned the GOP in recent years.
He will be under intense pressure to deliver gains in the 2010 congressional elections, which will affect the redistricting process that determines legislative boundaries.
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