SAFE Is Out in its First At-Bat

Thu, 26 Jun 2008 16:44:02 +0000

As noted by a commenter on Stan's post, the SAFE Commission struck out as an amendment in committee to a financial services appropriations bill. Here's how CongressDaily reported it. Stan was certainly on the money, when he anticipated a reaction that the Congress would not want to outsource its duties (presumably to contine the status quo in which they are simply not being done by anyone):

House Appropriations Chairman David Obey blasted the idea because the commission would be able to force appropriators to implement a solution that they would have no hand in creating and might not be workable.

"This is a great prescription for giving outside academics [the] right to write legislation, which the Congress is just going to have to vote on," Obey said. "In my view, that process is patently ridiculous."

"We have no business adopting an amendment like this, which is not in our jurisdiction, which would sidetrack this bill; we have no business adopting this with 15 minutes of debate," Obey continued.

The view from the Left, which I predicted in my post, was certainly present in the debate:

The debate was turned up a notch by Rep. Steven Rothman, D-N.J., who argued that Republican economic policies, including tax cuts for the wealthy, are responsible for turning a budget surplus in 2000 into a deficit of about $317 billion during the first eight months of FY08, according to CBO.

"Take responsibility for the economic philosophy that you espouse," said Rothman, who added that the upcoming presidential election will be a referendum on Republican economic policies.

What was the response from the Right?

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, was not impressed by Rothman's argument.

"That's bullshit," he responded.

Later, Simpson, who voted to attach the provision to the appropriations bill, explained that Rothman's remarks were partisan and distracted from an attempt to seriously debate an important matter.

"We were having a legitimate debate about how to solve the issue ... and Rothman gets up and turns it into a partisan debate. ... That doesn't solve the problem and what we have to do is solve the problem and get away from all the partisan horseshit; that is why I said it," Simpson said.

The question for Representative Simpson, then, is whether he would be willing to trade something like "making the tax cuts permanent" in order to make the SAFE Commission a reality. Is there room to deal?