The “Super Committee” is Neither

August 17, 2011 | By | Reply More

The recently passed S. 365 sets up a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, often referred to as the “super committee.” The committee is supposed to do several things but, if there is no agreement, automatic budget cuts across the board for Medicare, non-defense discretionary pending and defense spending will take place which would drastically harm the social services safety net for seniors, the disabled, pregnant women, and the unborn, among others.

In Title IV Section 401(b) (3) (A) (i) of the Act the committee is charged to “provide recommendations and language that will significantly improve the short-term and long-term fiscal imbalance of the Federal Government.” So, what the heck does that mumbo-jumbo mean?

The new laws shall “significantly” improve the debt situation. “Significantly” is defined as:

“Having or expressing a meaning; meaningful; or, Having or expressing a covert meaning; suggestive; or, Having or likely to have a major effect; important; or, Fairly large in amount or quantity; or, relating to observations or occurrences that are too closely correlated to be attributed to chance and therefore indicate a systematic relationship.”

or defined as:

“[I]n a significant manner: to a significant degree; or, it is significant; or, having meaning; or, having or likely to have influence or effect: important ; or, of a noticeably or measurably large amount; or, probably caused by something other than mere chance.”

All of the Republican members appointed to the “super committee” by the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the House Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH) have pledged to Grover Norquist that they will not vote for any tax increases.  In effect, the most significant means of “short-term and long-term” deficit reduction cannot and will not be voted in favor of by any Republican member of the Joint Select Committee. The only report which may then pass is a report which the majority supports for severe cuts in non-defense discretionary programs and entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security.

As a result of the pre-programmed gridlock of the Republicans on the “super committee, the already legally mandated cuts to Medicare, non-defense discretionary and defense spending will necessarily be automatically put into place as required by other sections of S. 365.

House Republicans will then later vote to rescind any S. 365 mandated defense cuts and try to throw the onus of any such cuts on Democrats in the US Senate. The Hobbesian choice of cutting defense or entitlements will be placed solely upon the shoulders of Senate Democrats and will be used to portray Democrats as “soft on terror” or “cutting Medicare” to great success in the 2012 election cycle. Karl Rove and Dick Armey and their affiliated post-Citizens United front groups already have the TV ads in the can and are buying TV time as this piece is being written.

Republicans absolutely refuse to even to consider making corporations and millionaires pay any share, much less their fair share, of deficit reduction in the upcoming recommendations and language of the Joint Select Committee. No problem, let’s get the GOP members proposed by the Senate Minority Leader and House Speaker thrown off the Committee!

Section 401(b) (5) (D) (i) of S. 365 says; “No proxy voting shall be allowed on behalf of the members of the committee.” A “proxy” is generally defined as a person designated by another to cast a vote or series of votes in the place of that other person, whether the appointment is official or unofficial (my emphasis).

“On behalf of” is defined as:

“Interest, support, or benefit;” or, “For the benefit of; in the interest of:” or, “As the agent of; on the part of.”

or defined as:

“Speaking or acting for.”

and, “behalf” is;

“In the interests of a person, group, or principle; or, As a representative of…”

Unless that language has some customary usage in legislative or parliamentary parlance, the fact of the Republicans’ refusals to consider any tax increases puts them in the place of voting as proxies for Grover Norquist and his ilk in the Joint Select Committee and the members which have “taken the ‘no tax’ pledge” are ineligible to serve on the Joint Select Committee on two grounds:

1. The Republicans selected have already refused to consider “recommendations and language that will significantly improve the short-term and long-term fiscal imbalance of the Federal Government;” and,

2. The Republican members who have “taken the ‘no tax’ pledge” are voting as illegal proxies for Grover Norquist and his ilk which seek to allow corporations and millionaires to continue to not pay their fair share towards deficit reduction now or ever.

Perhaps a point of order may be made to challenge the Republicans on the Joint Committee, if such is allowed. The Middle Class of America need a first salvo against the Republicans’ intransigence by a “give ’em hell Harry!” and the “the buck stops here” Truman Democrat in the US Senate.  Any takers?


Category: Politics

About the Author ()

imothy E. Hogan is a trial attorney, a husband, a father of two awesome children and a practicing Roman Catholic in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hogan has done legal and political work in Jefferson City, Missouri for partisan and non-partisan social change, environmental and consumer protection groups. Mr. Hogan has also worked for consumer advocate Ralph Nader in Washington, DC and the members of the trial bar in the State of New York. Mr. Hogan’s current interests involve remaining a full time solo practitioner pioneer on the frontiers of justice in America, a good husband and a good father to his awesome children.

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