Family Research Council
Most Americans already felt locked out of the White House on an ideological level--and now they're being physically shut out too! Determined to manufacture some kind of crisis in the sequester, President Obama is canceling White House tours before D.C.'s busiest tourist season. Due to "staffing reductions," senior officials say, the White House no longer has the ability to accommodate the taxpayers footing its bills.
The decision grabbed headlines, as it was designed to do, but mainly for the pettiness motivating it. The "people's house" is now the President's pawn in a PR battle to prove that the administration wasn't exaggerating the effects of the sequester's automatic cuts. Most conservative members are blasting the move--and rightly so. If the situation is dire enough to cancel White House tours, why isn't it dire enough to cancel the President's multi-million dollar vacations or the government's extravagant conferences? The President is willing to inflict pain on eighth graders, says the Wall Street Journal, while Agriculture officials drink their way through California wine country on the taxpayers' dime. Politico found at least six times where the President stretched the truth to try to create fear about the sequester.
And at least one Congressman is sick and tired of the White House's charade. Yesterday, our good friend Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) filed an amendment that would have given the President a taste of his own medicine. As part of the continuing resolution to fund the government, or CR, Gohmert took a swing at the President's golf game by asking the House to block our "green" from the putting greens. Under his measure, no public funds could have been spent transporting the President or Secret Service to a golf course until he lifts the ban on White House tours.
Unfortunately for Louie, House leaders, who had promised a more "open Congress" than the last few, were too busy blocking all amendments to give the proposal a chance. To the disappointment of FRC and the thousands of Americans who've lost their most basic freedoms under ObamaCare, House Republicans pushed for a "closed rule" on the six-month government funding extension. That means no amendments--including Rep. Gohmert's--were considered along with the CR.
RedState's Erick Erickson was one of the many frustrated bystanders. "This is a vote that will allow Republican leaders to bring to the floor of the House of Representatives the continuing resolution without having to deal with Congressman Gohmert's amendment," he writes. "It will also prevent Republicans from being able to defund Obamacare"--or protect the religious freedom or rights of conscience of those subject to it. Instead, the GOP leadership did what it's done for the last several months: continued pushing off legislation that addresses one of their base's major concerns. And since the CR is one of the year's few must-pass bills, the leadership is offering no real pathway forward for measures like Rep. Diane Black's (R-Tenn.) Health Care Conscience Act. Attaching it to the CR would have been one way to guarantee a vote on Black's language in the Senate. Now conservatives are left wondering what options remain for language that 76% of the public support.
Fortunately for the GOP, there was at least one piece of good news from "snowquestered" Washington. Despite two tries, the President's pick for the D.C. Circuit Court, Caitlin Halligan, failed to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to consider her nomination on the Senate floor. After packing the bench with extremists, the President will be short at least one anti-marriage, anti-gun, pro-abortion activist judge. Thanks to all of you who contacted your senators and asked them to vote no on Halligan. Together, we can make a difference!