The good news is that Congressman Ben Chandler has drawn the ire of radical Tea Party Activists and Grover Norquist’s Americans For Tax Reform. Kentucky’s 6th district Representative was in the midst of a December fray regarding 3 pieces of legislation that Tea Party and Republican congressional members pushed through the House. These bills directly oppose the Administration’s efforts to protect We The People.
Chandler is the chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on Oversight and Regulatory Review. This group is committed to reviewing approximately 8,000 pieces of legislation each year and ensuring that the intent of the legislation is consistent with the language of the bill.
Of Late, Congressman Chandler has drawn the ire of the Tea Party for opposing the Bush Tax Cuts. According to the Americans for Tax Reform, this is in violation of his Norquist pledge. Chandler does not stand alone in revoking the pledge, called by Presidential hopeful John Hunstman a ridiculous pledge. 238 members of the House have signed the Norquist pledge.
To date, Chandler is the only Democrat to pull back from the pledge. He is joined by several courageous Republican members of congress that have reconsidered the economic impact of the Bush Tax Cuts, which extension Chandler supported in 2010 when Republicans held 7 million unemployed Americans hostage. The other Democrat to sign the pledge is Rep. Robert Andrews of New Jersey. Recently, Andrews cooled the pledge and has indicated he is in Washington to do the People’s business, not follow Grover Norquist’s agenda.
Chandler advocates a balanced approach to reducing the deficit. His position has incurred the wrath of the Tea Party and Norquist. However, the number of Congressional members revoking their pledge is encouraging. Of course, in 2012, the voters who do not ask whether a candidate intends to sign or has already signed Norquist’s pledge is proper due diligence.
The moral hazard of the Norquist pledge is far-reaching. Responsible government means governing for We The People, not holding millions of Americans hostage while millionaires and billionaires enjoy a tax holiday.
Somehow, Republicans have attached the term “job creators” to We The Few. In fact, loose regulation and unduly low taxes have pushed the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Additionally, the Republican mandate opposing more regulation is what allowed We The Few to increase their treasure chests at the expense of American and every other nation who held mortgage-backed securities. Tea Partiers and Republicans want to re-visit those “Happy Days.” They are also ready to take action against Iran before We The People have paid for the last two Republican induced wars.
photo credit: JoeInSouthernCA
Congressman Chandler gets it. Although he supported the Tax Cut extension in 2010, he will not support the cuts in 2012. Despite his initial error in signing the pledge, Chandler has proved to be a conscientious representative. His voting record has been erratic. He opposed Wall Street regulation, voted against the Health Care Reform and voted for the Stupak Amendment opposing Pro-choice.
The Tea Party’s December assault against Chandler was triggered by his positions on three important Republican bills. The Congressman voted against two bills that did pass in the House and voted in favor of three bills that would contain the damage of another bill.
The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act – HR 527 – passed the House on December 1st. This bill addresses the impact that transparency and accountability have on small businesses.
Regulatory Accountability Act – HR 3010 – Passed the House on December 2nd. Requires a transparent and thorough examination of proposed regulatory reforms before they are enacted.
Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act 2011 (REINS) -HR 10 - Passed the House on December 7th. This wide-ranging legislation specifically identifies responsibilities of corporations with an economic impact of $100 million.
Chandler voted along party lines on REINS and on HR 3010. He voted for HR 527, but also voted on three amendments that would diminish the effect of HR 527. 19 Democrats supported HR 3010. Twenty-eight Democrats voted for HR 527.
HR 3010 concentrates on 12 independent federal agencies as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In efforts to weaken CFPB, Republicans have refused to accept President Obama’s nominee to head the new agency. Among its necessary responsibilities, CFPB is charged to enforce Truth in Lending and Full Disclosure which would have prevented the housing crisis. CFPB is We The People’s protection against unscrupulous credit card policies and bank overcharges.
All three bills are expected to fail in the Senate. President Obama has already declared that he would veto all three bills.
Rep. Chandler finds himself in precarious position for the 2012 elections, when all incumbents will be subjected to close scrutiny. Chandler barely survived a 2010 challenge from Republican Andy Barr. The margin of victory was just 600 votes. With new redistricting, the 6th district will lean heavily Democratic.
Barr has already challenged Chandler’s voting record. Citing the high unemployment and defending the Republican stance against regulation as a “job killer,” Barr will be a formidable opponent.
In defense, Chandler argues that his votes have reflected the wishes of his constituents. However, Kentucky Democrats are not thrilled with his voting record and have raised concerns about his original support of the Norquist pledge. Chandler counters that his growing seniority offers him a chance to provide a bigger voice in the dysfunctional House.
In addition to the Blue Dog coalition, Rep. Chandler serves on the following caucuses:
- Healthy Forests Caucus
- Horse Caucus (Co-Chair)
- International Conservation Caucus(Co-Chair)
- Public Broadcasting Caucus (Co-Chair)
- Wildlife Refuge Caucus
Congressman Chandler serves on these important committee:
- Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia
- Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence
The seats on these committees and subcommittees are treasured. Democrats, Kentucky and the nation can ill-afford to lose Chandler’s experience in Intelligence and Foreign Affairs.
Chandler has also received endorsements from several significant groups, including:
- The Veterans Vision Board endorses Chandler as a champion of Veteran’s rights.
- The Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans of America
- The 11 million member Trade Brigade of Citizens Trade Campaign.
- The Herald- Leader
Congressman Chandler’s voting record will come under fire from Andy Barr. Kentuckians must appreciate that rather than vote along party lines, Chandler has had the courage to revoke the Norquist pledge which is the singular roadblock in reducing the country’s debt representing the safety and well-being of his constituents. Ben Chandler needs your support. The Tea Party activists have taken to the streets. Democrats must respond in kind.