Congressmen and senators have departed Washington, D.C., for the July 4 recess. But unlike ordinary Americans who may take a break from their normal jobs for the holiday week, Republicans will be busy — taking time to rally voters and prepare for the giant legislative battles which await them upon their return.
Roll Call reports that Republicans are hoping to call attention to cap-and-trade, health care, and other items on the liberals’ wish list:
Using the Independence Day break to malign the work of the majority party is a time-honored tradition in Washington, and Republicans hope to live up to tradition by branding Democrats as a “far left” party intent on “big government takeovers,” “bringing terrorists to the U.S.” and purposefully inflating the debt through “wasteful spending,” according to recess messaging documents prepared for House and Senate Republicans.
At the top of the list will be Friday’s vote on cap-and-trade. Minority Leader John Boehner provided some dramatic moments in a mini-filibuster and some 44 Democrats defected from one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s primary legislative proposals. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it passed and Republicans will face a conservative base fuming about eight Republicans who crossed over to support a huge energy tax and massive expansion of government regulation. It is not accurate to say that the Republican 8 were responsible for the bill’s passage. There is little doubt that the requisite number of Democrats would have been strong-armed to remain on board to make up for any of the eight Republicans who might have been convinced to stick with their party. Nevertheless, the Republican 8 didn’t help matters by blurring the partisan divide and by helping some Democrats avoid casting an unpopular vote.
Despite the eight defectors, Republicans will make hay over a bill that imposes “a huge tax” (as Warren Buffet put it) during a recession. Of all times to impose a bevy of new regulations and squeeze already suffering heartland industries, this seems a particularly inopportune one. How high must unemployment go before liberal Democrats decide to make it easier, not harder, for American employers?