Pete Domenici may be popular here in New Mexico in part because he brings the pork home for New Mexico, but he’s also a big reason why the Republican Party has lost its moorings on fiscal matters.
I received word of the following exchange from a staffer at the Heritage Foundation. This debate just occurred on the Senate floor between Senators Coburn and Domenici (link courtesy of Sen. DeMint’s office). It highlights the clash of cultures between true reformers (Coburn and DeMint) and business-as-usual career politicians (including Domenici, unfortunately) like nothing else since perhaps the Bridge to Nowhere debate. The final 45 seconds is especially noteworthy.
Earlier in the debate Sen. Domenici essentially asserted that the Junior Senator from Oklahoma shouldn’t attempt to supplant the collective wisdom of committee staff.
Transcript of Domenici remarks:
I DON’T THINK ONE SENATOR SHOULD SUPPLANT THAT. THOSE 23 MEMBERS OF THIS COMMITTEE MAKE THEIR JUDGMENTS ON INFORMATION COMPILED BY A PROFESSIONAL STAFF WITH A COMBINED SERVICE OF RELEVANT DEPARTMENTS IN CONGRESS OF OVER 70 YEARS JUST ON THE REPUBLICAN STAFF SIDE ALONE. THEY SPEND GREAT DEAL OF TIME ON THESE BILLS. THEY KNOW MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE. THEY — THEY GIVE THAT KNOWLEDGE TO US, THE 23 MEMBERS, AND WE VOTE.
Transcript of Coburn remarks:
THE HERITAGE THAT WE HAVE EMBRACED IN THIS COUNTRY IS ONE OF SACRIFICE. ONE GENERATION SACRIFICES SO THE NEXT HAS OPPORTUNITY. IF WE KEEP DOING THIS WITHOUT REGARD, WE DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH WE’RE SPENDING, WE DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH THE MONTHLY COSTS ARE, WE’RE NOT TAKING CARE OF THE PARKS THE WAY WE SHOULD BECAUSE WE HAVE A HODGEPODGE, A BARGE FLOATING DOWN A RIVER WITHOUT A TUG ON IT, WE’RE GOING TO MAKE THE PROBLEM WORSE. I WILL REMIND MY COLLEAGUES, THE TRUE ACCOUNTING OF THIS YEAR ESTIMATE IS $607 BILLION DEFICIT. THAT’S OVER $2,000 FOR EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN THIS COUNTRY. EVERY CHILD THAT’S BORN TODAY IN THIS COUNTRY INHERITS AN OBLIGATION THAT THEY WILL HAVE TO PAY THAT THEY GET NO BENEFIT FROM OF $400,000. AM I FRUSTRATING THE SENATORS FROM NEW MEXICO? YOU BET. ARE OUR CHILDREN WORTH IT? YOU BET. I’M NOT GOING TO STOP, I’M GOING TO STAND AND SAY WE’RE GOING TO THINK LONG TERM, WE ARE GOING TO START.PROTECTING PROPERTY RIGHTS, WE ARE NOT GOING IT GIVE UP BECAUSE WE GET LECTURED TO BECAUSE WE ARE NOT DOING IT THE WAY WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT. THE WAY WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT HAS US BANKRUPT.
IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE.
REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ALIKE: OUR CHILDREN ARE WORTH IT. WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.
Description of Coburn amendments that are being voted on now.