Rep. Schakowsky Is the Wrong Choice for Deficit Panel
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has named big spender Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) to serve on President Barack Obama’s deficit panel.
It is only the latest sign that Pelosi and Obama are not serious about cutting the deficit, and cannot be trusted to manage our nation’s finances.
Rep. Schakowsky has rarely met a spending bill she didn’t like.
She recently proposed that Illinois taxpayers fork over $100 million to bail out ShoreBank, a failing institution with ties to former “green jobs” czar Van Jones. It would be the first-ever bank bailout by a state government in American history.
Rep. Schakowsky also recently voted to raise the national debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion, to $14.3 trillion.
In addition, she voted for President George W. Bush’s bank bailout and President Obama’s failed stimulus bill.
She has defended the use of earmarks, and authored an earmark in fiscal year 2009 for the Save-A-Life Foundation, a group that local journalists had already exposed as a fraud.
Moreover, Rep. Schakowsky has a record of fiscal irresponsibility. She served on the board of the now-defunct Illinois Public Action Council, co-signing tax returns that later implicated her husband, Robert Creamer, the group’s founder, in federal crimes of check-kiting and tax evasion.
Rep. Schakowsky joins a list of dubious appointments to the deficit panel. These include Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, who has pushed for massive increases in government spending; and fellow Illinois Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, who joins Rep. Schakowsky in representing a state with the second-worst debt rating in the nation.
The deficit panel should consist of representatives who are able to forge bipartisan compromises. However, Rep. Schakowsky is the most left-wing member of the House of Representatives, according to National Journal.
She has also been one of Speaker Pelosi’s most faithful lieutenants. In the three years since Speaker Pelosi took up the gavel, she has added $4 trillion to the national debt, more than twice the rate of her predecessor.
The deficit panel itself has been set up to fail. It has no enforcement mechanism, and its recommendations are only due in December, meaning that they will be considered by a lame-duck Congress with little accountability to the voters.
President Obama imposed the deficit panel through an executive order after the Senate voted down a similar panel. The White House and Congress had blocked bipartisan proposals for a deficit panel with real teeth and transparency.
The lesson of past experience with deficit panels in other countries is that they work best when they are fully transparent, when their members have credibility on fiscal issues, and when they are conducted in a non-partisan fashion.
On all three of these counts, Rep. Schakowsky fails.
The deficit panel risks being little more than a fig leaf for a Congress that has smashed spending records and exploded our national debt.
President Obama had the audacity to call his budget, “A New Era of Responsibility.” We don’t need another political gimmick.
We need to elect a new Congress that will cut discretionary spending and reform entitlement programs that are on the verge of collapse.
We can start right here in the 9th district of Illinois.