January 16, 2013
Senator Mike Enzi - January Newsletter
We must be legislators, not deal-makers
Early in the month Senator Enzi gave a speech on the Senate floor about the importance of the filibuster and the need for the new Congress to put aside differences and work together. Below are excerpts from his speech.
“What we need to do around this institution is to start legislating and stop deal-making. We are a legislative body. We have to get to common ground again, and the way we do that is by legislating. We need to put out the 80 percent both sides agree on and then allow amendments on it. That is something we haven’t been doing around here for a long time.
“To be effective, Congress has 535 people looking at every proposal – lots of viewpoints, lots of experience. If all decisions are going to be made by the majority leader, how does every American’s elected leader get to represent his or her constituents? The people back home who put their faith in their Senators expect to be represented by their Senators, not a party of a majority leader who does not know them as their own senators do.
“Using current rules would be much better than breaking the rules for the first time in order to change the rules. We have never done that.
“Going all out to avoid votes is silencing the voices of millions of Americans and tearing down the institution of the Senate and eliminating transparency. The time has come for those senators of the majority to decide where they stand, whether they will abide by the rules of the Senate or break the rules for the first time in 217 years. Will they support the checks and balances established by the Founding Fathers?”
To view the video of Enzi’s floor speech, click Fiscal cliff deal not perfect, but locks in tax rates
The Senate and the House recently passed a bill to avert the fiscal cliff. According to Senator Enzi, the bill has its shortcomings but locks in tax rates for a majority of Americans.
“Higher taxes aren’t the magic wand that will make our $1 trillion deficits and the $16 trillion national debt disappear,” said Enzi. “Especially when it’s only going to pay for more spending."
The bill made permanent the Bush-era tax cuts for couples earning under $450,000 and individuals earning under $400,000. It also keeps the estate tax threshold at $5 million, extends emergency federal unemployment benefits for one more year, and delays the across-the-board spending cuts for two months.
“Once we quit spending more money than we take in, we have to start paying off our debts,” Enzi said. “Every day we wait, every change we ignore, leave us with less options for leaving future generations with the same quality of life we have.”