Human Events Blog

Tea Party Debt Commission Lockout

The Tea Party Debt Commission, an open-source Super Duper Committee on deficit reduction sponsored by FreedomWorks and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), ran into a bit of trouble at the Russell Senate Office Building today, as detailed in a press release:

Senate Rules Committee staff on Thursday removed microphones and locked the doors of a hearing room in the Russell Senate Office Building where an informal hearing was scheduled to review the findings of the Tea Party Debt Commission, a months-long crowd-sourced effort to develop a budget proposal that balances the budget, reduces the debt and gets America’s fiscal house back in order.

Well, the government might be $15 trillion in debt, but at least it can still afford high-quality locks.  I hope they were at least American-made locks.

“The Senate hasn’t been able to pass a budget resolution three years running. They have been unable to do their job, and now the Rules Committee is trying to prevent the American people from doing it for them,” said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks.

“The Senate has refused to let the American people know what the highly secretive budget ‘Super Committee’ is doing behind closed doors,” Kibbe added. “We’ve come to Washington with the real solutions developed by the American people, and the Rules Committee won’t let their voices be heard in an open forum. It’s outrageous. They’re kicking us out of our own building because they’re afraid we are going to do something crazy like balance the budget.”

Wow, transparency is really hard!  You try to hold an open meeting to discuss a crowd-sourced budget proposal, and they shut off your microphones.  Wasn’t Joe Biden supposed to be holding a secret behind-closed-doors meeting on transparency today?  Maybe Item One on the agenda should have been “don’t interfere with citizens trying to hold public meetings to discuss ideas for deficit reduction.”

Dave Weigel at Slate has the official story about the lockdown:

The press release had called the event a “hearing.” Sen. Mike Lee, who had participated in some hearings in Utah, was all set to kick the proceedings off. But he was told that calling the event a “hearing” put it outside the rules. That, plus a (totally unrelated) scare over a suspicious package at Jeff Sessions’s office in Russell, meant that people showing up for the event saw a bunch of Capitol police securing the hallway, and taking placards off the tables in the room.

Undaunted, Lee led the Tea Party Debt Commission to the Kirby Center at Hillsdale College, and they resumed doing what congressional Democrats absolutely refuse to do: take the national debt seriously.  We’ve got a livestream running at HUMAN EVENTS here.


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