Democrats Get Greedy on Stimulus

One of the first acts of the 111th Congress will be an all-Democrat hearing stacked with five sympathetic witnesses who favor some version of a massive economic stimulus package. Republicans aren’t invited and no conservative viewpoints will be presented.

Is this the openness and honesty that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) promised when she was elected?

To hear Pelosi tell it, there’s no reason to delay — let alone debate — the huge spending bill. She wants to push through the $775 billion package by the time President-elect Barack Obama takes office on Jan. 20.

So next Wednesday the House Democrat Steering and Policy Committees will hold a hearing stacked with witnesses who will tell them exactly what they want to hear. Pelosi allies Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) will chair the hearing. Other participants include Democrat chairmen of the Science and Technology, Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, Budget, Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees.

Pelosi knows Republicans are demanding transparency and accountability for the massive spending bill. But that means committee hearings and debate — something that will undoubtedly slow down the process.

To avoid those legislative hurdles, Pelosi has called the all-Democrat hearing next week. The economy is so bad, she claims, that Congress must act quickly. “This hearing will build upon the stimulus package the House passed in September and the numerous hearings held by our other committees.”

Let’s get this straight: Some committees in a previous Congress held hearings months ago about a different stimulus package. Pelosi puts together a fake hearing run by Democrats for Democrats with sympathetic witnesses. She claims Congress needs to provide “immediate relief.” This is supposed to be open and honest government?

Patrick Ruffini and Ed Frank have offered good advice for conservatives to fight the stimulus. Republicans need a viable alternative that stresses tax relief. They also need to demand transparency and accountability.