Raul Labrador, the Republican nominee for Congress, said Friday that Congressman Walt Minnick’s effort to pass a line-item veto bill does not address the core of the spending problem in Washington. The problem, he said, is a House administered by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Minnick, a Democrat serving his first term in the 1st District, is the man Labrador is trying to unseat. Labrador, in a prepared statement released to the press and on his campaign website, said that to cut down federal spending, Pelosi must be removed from power.
In the statement Labrador said that Minnick would not vote against Pelosi when she is up for re-election as speaker. "The simple fact is, the only thing that is going to stop this horrendous flow of red ink is a change in political leadership. The most effective thing we can do to arrest the irresponsible spending of this Congress is to take the gavel away from Nancy Pelosi. And Mr. Minnick is unwilling to do that," Labrador said. He also pointed to the national debt, which recently topped $13 trillion, as another reason for cutting spending and replacing congressional leadership.
Labrador faulted President Barack Obama for allowing the debt to clime at a higher rate than the previous president. "... the national debt has been growing at $5 billion each day since Barack Obama became president, three times the rate America saw under President Bush," the release says. That, Labrador says, requires major action. "The flow of federal red ink is as out of control as the oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico,” Labrador said. “And the reaction of Walt Minnick and fellow Democrats to this budget crisis is equally ineffective."
Many proponents of the line-item veto bill believe that it would help the president cut down on wasteful spending, unnecessary projects, and earmarks. Those opposed to it believe it would give the president the power to legislate, a power reserved for Congress.
At a recent debate prior to the primary election, Labrador said that he is not completely opposed to earmarks, but that he would like to see all earmarks coincide with legislation of similar purpose. He said that too often, sponsors of legislation have used pet projects and perks thrown into random bills as a way to garner widespread support for a measure.
Minnick is pushing legislation in Congress that would end earmarks being awarded to for-profit companies. On his website, Minnick said that his move is the first step on a path to fiscal responsibility. "We need a permanent ban on all earmarks, but taking this interim step will show that the House is serious about fiscal responsibility,” Minnick said. “If government is going to stop running up the deficit, the unchecked spending must stop.”
Read Labrador's full release here.