Reprinted from PowerlineBlog.com.
Jack Lew, the plutocrat nominated as Secretary of the Treasury by Barack Obama, was confirmed by the Senate this afternoon on a 71-26 vote. What was notable about the vote was not so much the outcome as the challenge that Senator Jeff Sessions threw down before his Democratic colleagues–try to defend Jack Lew, and if you can’t defend him, don’t vote for him. One thing is for certain: the Democrats had zero interest in trying to defend Lew’s record. They spoke for a total of 17 minutes on his behalf, while Sessions spoke for 2 1/2 hours, in several installments through the day.
Sessions’ closing statement was an eloquent indictment not only of the plutocrat Lew, but of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. It is quoted here in its entirety:
During my remarks today I have exhaustively documented the case against the confirmation of Mr. Lew. I have detailed his disastrous budget plans, rebuked by editorial boards across the country and unanimously rejected by Congress.
I have discussed his repeated, knowing, and deliberately false statements about those budget plans–most notoriously his claim that “Our budget will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we’re not adding to the debt anymore; we’re spending money that we have each year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt.”
As I close my remarks, I would appeal to my colleagues to oppose Mr. Lew.
I would appeal to my colleagues to defend the integrity of the Senate, to defend the right of our constituents to hear the truth from government officials, and to defend the idea, the very concept, of truth itself.
I would also like to place this in a wider context.
Today is the 1,400th day since Senate Democrats passed a budget. Why has this gone on so long? Because they decided it would be better to offer no solution, no plan to help struggling Americans, and instead to tear down anyone who dared to offer a plan to solve our nation’s economic problems.
This is the heart of the problem here in Washington right now. We have one political party that sees the budget debate as exercise in political warfare, not problem-solving.
At the center of this strategy is the White House.
In his campaign for re-election, President Obama repeatedly said that he had a plan to “pay down our debt.” He even ran a campaign ad saying: “I believe the only way to create an economy built to last, is to strengthen the middle class—asking the wealthy to pay a little more so we can pay down our debt in a balanced way. So we can afford to invest in education, manufacturing, and home-grown American energy, for good middle class jobs.”
But this is all totally false.
Again, this was the strategy: offer a plan that does nothing to alter our dangerous debt course while pretending the opposite.
Then, once you’ve done that, attack anyone who dares to reduce the size of the bureaucracy. Attack anyone who suggests Washington is too powerful. Attack, attack, attack–while never offering anything to help Americans who are struggling every day.
After the White House budget was submitted in 2011, President Obama spoke at George Washington University and, with Congressman Paul Ryan sitting in front of him, and said:
"One vision has been championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives…It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years…But the way this plan achieves [that goal] would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known throughout most of our history…This is a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. And who are those 50 million Americans? Many are someone’s grandparents who wouldn’t be able afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome… These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves."
Majority Leader Reid said of one Republican reform effort that it was “a mean-spirited bill that would cut the heart out of the recovery that we have in America today… It goes after little children, poor little boys and girls… We want them to learn to read.”
This is how the White House and Senate Democrat leaders approach the budget debate. It’s the same strategy with the sequester. And Republicans, candidly, have not done enough to stand up to these egregious slanders. Voting against Jack Lew would be a vote against these dishonest tactics. These misrepresentations of fact.
The painful truth is, the White House strategy has been largely successful up until now. President Obama and his Senate Majority have blocked fiscal reform and continued our path to fiscal disaster.
It is time that we pointed out that the establishment they are shielding from cuts–the big-government apparatus they are defending–is hurting people every day. Their policies, their endless support of the bureaucracy, has created poverty and joblessness and dependency. In cities like Baltimore, Detroit, and Chicago–governed almost exclusively by Democrats at every level–good, hardworking people are hurt every day by the policies of the Left.
* In the city of Baltimore, one in three children live in poverty. One in three Baltimore residents are on food stamps.
* In Chicago, there were roughly 500 homicides in 2012. Fifty-one percent of the city’s children live in a single-parent family.
* In Detroit, almost one in three households had not a single person working at any time in the last 12 months. The city’s violent crime rate is among the worst in the country. More than half of all Detroit children live in poverty.
This should not happen. These are the consequences of leftist policies. We are fighting to create jobs, to create rising wages, to create opportunity, to help more people earn a good living and care for themselves financially. We are trying to lift people out of poverty, to strengthen family and community. And we are trying to protect the good and decent people of this country from a debt crisis.
Where does Mr. Lew stand? Where does the White House stand?
They did everything they could to defend the bureaucracy–no matter the cost in wasted tax dollars or lost jobs. Mr. Lew submitted an indefensible budget plan that would have caused further social and economic devastation, deliberately misled the nation about that plan, and then participated in a strategy to shut down GOP efforts at reform.
I urge my colleagues to reject these tactics from the White House. I urge them to stand up for the good and decent people of this country and to oppose Mr. Lew.
For now, Democratic Party plutocrats are firmly in the saddle. But the handwriting, perhaps, is on the wall. Their policies have failed, again and again; they have no plan to rescue the nation’s finances; they have nothing to offer but slander and hate. Won’t the day inevitably come when they get what they deserve?
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