Earlier today, ABC News reported that a top aide to Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) is rallying Beltway lobbyists to fight GOP spending cuts:
In an e-mail obtained by ABC News, a top staffer for the key Senate Appropriations subcommittee called for a meeting of lobbyists and interest groups that would be affected by expected cuts to the Labor and Health and Human Services budget. The Jan. 24 meeting was attended by approximately 400 people, sources told ABC, and served as a “call to arms” for those determined to fight Republican budget cuts.
“One thing everyone should be able to agree on now is that a rising tide lifts all boats, and that a higher [Labor, Health & Human Services] allocation improves the chances for every stakeholder group to receive more funding,” the committee staffer for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, wrote in an e-mail inviting people to the meeting.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” chuckles Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, in an interview with National Review Online. “The spending special interests are coming out of the seams. They are activating K Street to work on their behalf.”
On Thursday, Ryan unveiled his plan to slice off chunks of the federal budget and return discretionary spending to 2008 levels. Immediately, Democrats threw potshots; Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.), for instance, called the cuts “draconian.”
Ryan tells us that Democrats should stop huddling behind closed doors and engage in a frank debate about the country’s fiscal future. “They should stop protecting their special interests at the expense of the taxpayer,” he says. “Instead, they are procrastinating and kicking the can down the road, which is only accelerating our path toward a debt crisis. They are trying to deny the obvious: that spending is out of control.”
“By denying the obvious, they’re courting draconian changes,” Ryan explains. “If we work now to restore budget discipline, then we can avoid draconian austerity measures; if we don’t, then we won’t be able to avoid them. Democrats are simply trying to dupe the American people into thinking that we can keep giving bureaucracies double-digit spending increases every year without consequence.”
Indeed, the Harkin aide’s e-mail, Ryan concludes, is indicative of how Democrats handle debates on the Hill. “It’s another chapter in the same old story,” he sighs. “As with how they passed health care, they are relying on backroom deals, getting lobbyists to carry their water, demagoguery — it’s another example of how they think that the end justifies the means.”