Editorial

Legislative Lowdown: The war on Republicans

Brian Darling Liberty Government Affairs

Now that Mitt Romney has locked down the nod to go against Barack Obama this fall, the left seems to have ramped up its efforts to demonize anybody who disagrees with the president’s dogma. This campaign is in its nascent stages, yet it is already getting ugly.

The left wing has been tossing mud as quickly as it can pick it up in an effort to paint Mitt Romney and all Republicans as women-haters. Look no further than the argument from the left that Republicans have engaged in a “war on women.” Media Matters, the non-profit press shop for the Obama administration, argued that Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) amendment to allow Catholic and other religious institutions to opt out of being forced to fund sterilization, contraception and abortion-inducing drugs was “anti-woman.”

The mud-slinging isn’t limited to women’s issues. President Obama called Paul Ryan’s budget plan “Social Darwinism,” implying that Republicans are dismantling the safety net in a political attack on the poor. This is merely the beginning of a long, dirty war that the left will wage to try and divert the American people’s attention from a dismal economy and soaring gas prices.

Buffett Tax Increase

The Senate is expected to vote on Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-RI) bill, S. 2230, the “Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012,” when it comes back into session. This is legislation to implement the so-called “Buffett Rule.”

Yet a Senate vote on this bill is clearly unconstitutional. The Constitution states in Article 1, Section 7 that “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” This Whitehouse bill is originating in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) won’t let that pesky provision in the Constitution stand in his way; he is expected to force a vote in an effort to paint Republicans as the defenders of the rich.

Conservatives would love to work with liberals on simplifying the tax system, but liberals seem intent on using the idea of tax reform as a pretext to raise more revenues for even more government spending. Look at the fine print of the Whitehouse bill, and you will see that a “married individual who files a separate return” at 50% of the million will pay at the new tax rate of 30%. So the “Buffett Rule” applies to single millionaires and married half-millionaires.

A Fake Senate Budget Resolution

This upcoming week, the Senate Budget Committee is going to mark up the liberal budget resolution for the year. The Senate hasn’t passed a budget resolution for the past two years and one is not expected to pass the full Senate this year. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) appears to be taking up a resolution in committee merely for show, because Senate Majority Leader Reid has stated that he will not bring a budget resolution to the Senate floor.

There may be another reason for this effort. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky (S. Con. Res. 39) and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania (S. Con. Res. 37) have crafted conservative budget resolutions. The Senate parliamentarian seems to be open to allowing consideration of a budget in the Senate this year. Reid may try to use the Conrad budget as a means to block the other two pending conservative budgets.

Earmarks

Word has leaked that some Republicans want to bring back earmarks as a means to get a bloated transportation bill passed this year. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) have advocated for earmarking up the transportation bill. This will allow members’ votes to be purchased with projects for specific member’s districts.

The Senate has already passed a bloated $109 billion plan for two years, and the House had a five-year $260 billion plan. Some believe the only way to pass these monstrosities is to earmark them up with special projects to get just enough votes to pass the bills. Transportation programs are currently operating under a temporary 90-day extension of programs. A better idea would be to scrap both plans and devolve gas taxes and road building back to the states, where they belong.

The Violence Against “Women” Act

The pending version of the Violence Against Women Act, S.1925, applies to men. Only in Washington could politicians craft a bill to prevent violence against women that applies to men on the basis of sexual preference. If you lead an alternative lifestyle, you are covered. If you lead a traditional lifestyle and get beaten by your wife, you are out of luck.

The Constitution does not permit special-interest programs to give tax dollars to help victims of crime, yet federal politicians have seen fit to take over a responsibility better left to the states. Expect a vote on this soon, so the liberals can again demonize their opponents for hating women.

Brian Darling is a senior fellow for government studies at The Heritage Foundation. He writes a weekly “Legislative Lowdown” column for The Daily Caller.