Keep the Pressure on Democrats
House Republicans should schedule daily votes on bills that force Democrats to reveal their priorities.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R., Calif.)


Deroy Murdock

Representative Tom McClintock (R., Calif.) has a modest proposal for the House GOP leadership: Keep Democrats constantly astride the horns of a dilemma.

“We have seen several major pieces of legislation reported to the House floor, such as the Violence Against Women Act [VAWA], that divide Republicans while they unite Democrats,” McClintock tells me, “and a minority of Republican votes join with the Democrats to pass these measures, in a House that the Republicans are supposed to manage. Just thinking out loud here — maybe while we still have a Republican majority in the House, we ought to put up measures that unite Republicans around Republican principles and force the Democrats to explain their positions to voters.”

House speaker John Boehner repeatedly has violated former GOP speaker J. Dennis Hastert’s rule that legislation must pass the House with at least a majority of the Republican majority. The tax-raising fiscal-cliff deal, the pork-filled Hurricane Sandy relief bill, and the warmly named but problematic VAWA all were adopted with nearly unanimous Democratic support and a minority of GOP votes.

McClintock argues that his approach “would bring to the public’s attention the enormous amount of their money that’s being wasted by this government.” He has proposed such steps to the House GOP leadership “in several conference meetings,” he says. And what was the response? “Everybody nods, and nothing happens.” McClintock concludes: “The Republican majority is being squandered.”

This is no way to run a Republican legislative chamber, especially when the Washington Post reports that Obama thirsts to crush the House’s GOP majority and, during his final two years, reinstate California Democrat Nancy Pelosi as speaker for one last left-wing waltz.

Boehner should follow McClintock’s strategy and schedule daily, stand-alone votes that rally Republicans and let Democrats demonstrate whether they truly stand with the downtrodden or with the prosperous.

As the sequester started, for instance, Representative Louie Gohmert (R., Texas) offered a brilliant idea: No federal funding for Obama’s 116th golf junket until he restores public tours of the White House. (The March 13 Washington Post compared Obama’s cancellation of these tours to “bureaucratic hostage taking.”) Despite applause for Gohmert’s amendment, Boehner scotched it. Pitiful.

So, the question should come before the House. In a separate, individual vote — rather than within a major bill that Democrats might oppose on a party-line basis — Pelosi, Maryland’s Steny Hoyer, California’s Maxine Waters, New York’s Charles Rangel, and their Democratic colleagues should decide: Would they rather spend tax dollars to whisk Obama to country clubs or to reopen the Executive Mansion to Boy Scouts, Campfire Girls, and other children who washed cars and sold cookies to fund their now-impossible White House visits?

As the Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk estimates, taxpayers could save some $11 billion annually by repealing the Davis-Bacon Act. It requires Washington to pay union-driven “prevailing wages” on federally funded construction projects, which are, on average, 22 percent higher than market-driven wages. Why not scrap this lavish law and devote half the savings to debt reduction and the other half to assist disabled children who live below the poverty line? Force Democrats to choose between construction-union bosses, who pay their campaign bills, and disadvantaged kids, whom they say they represent.