Vitter takes on Congress pay raise
U.S. Sen. David Vitter blasted the Obama Administration stimulus package, revisited the immigration “crisis,” and told a standing room only crowd at the Parish Council Chambers in Gonzales that he had forced a roll call vote on the automatic pay raise in Congress.
In what was billed as a Town Hall style meeting, but in fact more resembled a gathering exclusively for conservatives, Vitter’s answers to questions drew applause and cheering from the approximately 75 people in attendance.
There was no television coverage, and the two newspaper reporters at the meeting learned of Vitter’s appearance from persons who received a targeted post card invitation.
Vitter said he “used procedural moves” to get a roll call vote Monday or Tuesday on his amendment to end Congress’s ability to give itself automatic pay raises.
The Republican senator received two rounds of applause as he explained how he managed to get a roll call vote on the “auto-pilot” pay raise.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who used his rank as leader of the Senate to schedule only amendments he wanted to see debated blocked Vitter's efforts to obtain the roll call vote most of last week.
Vitter said in a release Friday that when Reid called for unanimous consent on the handpicked amendments, he (Vitter) objected to the proceeding until he was assured that his own amendment would receive a roll call vote.
A roll call vote on the amendment would make public each senator’s position on automatic pay raises in a recessionary economy.
The amendment resembles a stand-alone bill that Vitter and two co-sponsors have also introduced to end the automatic pay raises.
Regarding the stimulus bill, the freshman Republican senator drew another round of applause when he said he voted against the bill virtually “every step of the way.”
He did so because the costs outweighed the benefits, he said.
The $800 billion bill is a lot of money, “particularly when you consider that every penny of it is borrowed money.”
With the nation in a deficit situation already, “every penny of that is borrowed money putting debt on top of debt.”
A year ago everyone was concerned because the nation was borrowing so much money and selling its creditor notes to the Chinese, Vitter said. “Now, everybody, including me is worried to death that the Chinese might stop buying our creditor notes, stop lending us money, and that’s really how desperate the situation is.”
With the borrowing will come inflationary pressure, he said.
He would have supported a stimulus bill that had targeted infrastructure spending, such as bridges and highways, the senator said, but all the bridges, roads and highways in the stimulus bill amounted to only about three percent of the total package.
Vitter noted he opposed all the bailout programs, starting with the financial bailout begun during the Bush administration.
When asked why the immigration issue was being avoided in Washington, Vitter said the questioner was right that immigration was not being debated now. He said it needs to be, there is still a crisis in the country and the nation needs to get serious about enforcement.
“The real issue isn’t just border security, but workplace security,” Vitter said. Employers need a real time database in the workplace to check worker legality, he said.
The senator drew more applause after saying he said he favored withholding federal funds from towns and communities that act as sanctuaries for illegal aliens.