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Fiscal Policy &Junk Science Richard Falknor on 29 Jun 2009 12:55 pm

Representative Dave Reichert of the “Mega-Taxing Eight”

UPDATES JUNE 30! Here is the full text of Waxman-Markey — over 1400 pages. Here are Representative Dave Reichert’s ratings over several years by the National Taxpayers Union, and here is the “2007 RePORK Card” from the Club for Growth where Mr. Reichert received a “4 %” score.  Perhaps that is why the House Republican leadership could trust him with an appointment to the Ways and Means committee.

Representative Dave Reichert of the “Mega-Taxing Eight”

There is not much doubt, at least among conservatives, that the enactment of the ‘cap-and-tax’ bill, just narrowly approved by the House of Representatives Friday afternoon, would profoundly change America — and very much for the worse.

As Roger Kimball titled his post here last Saturday morning – –

“A ‘green’ economy vs. a productive economy, or how America became a third-world country with first-world feelings of moral superiority'”

Republican leader John Boehner’s fine performance in reading aloud and commenting on selections from the bill on the House floor (explaining that he did so because members had not been given the time to review it) had the accents of parliamentary greatness. And his foil Beverly Hills Representative Henry Waxman was almost a caricature. 

So what went wrong with the Republican defense that eight Republicans voted for the cap-and-tax (Waxman-Markey) bill?  (Keep in mind, however, that the Other Team may have had votes in reserve, members “allowed” by the leadership to vote against Waxman-Markey only if their votes were not necessary for House passage.)


Here is Edward John Craig citing Paul Chesser and Steve Milloy in the National Review on Line’s “Planet Gore” also last Saturday morning  —

“The Day After Yesterday   [Edward John Craig]

Paul Chesser asks an appropriate question over on the AmSpec blog.

My question is, what message did House Whip Eric Cantor and Minority Leader John Boehner deliver to the eight Republican strays? If it was anything less than a promise, if they voted “yes,” to:

1. Withhold all future NRCC funds

2. Recruit and massively fund a primary opponent

3. Remove them from any leadership roles they might have

— then GOP leadership’s message wasn’t strong enough. This was a vote that demanded principle and unanimity for a party that claims the mantle of lower taxes and limited government, and once again, it failed.

Then again, even as GOP voters were calling their representatives urging them not to support this abjectly foolish piece of legislation, Eric Cantor said (as Steve Milloy noted on Friday afternoon, in his “Sheesh of the Day”) “removing CO2 from the atmosphere is a noble endeavor.”

So presuming the GOP’s eight Yeas expected (inexplicably) that the Obama Energy Tax might actually reduce carbon emissions, here they are — the ‘noble eight’:

Mary Bono Mac (R. Calif.)
Mike Castle (R., Del.)
Mark Steven Kirk (R., Ill.)
Leonard Lance (R., N.J.)
Frank LoBiondo (R., N.J.)
John McHugh (R., N.Y.)
Dave Reichert (R., Wash.)
Chris Smith (R., N.J.)”

What is the answer to Paul Chesser’s question? Perhaps Virginia’s good Mr. Cantor can spare a moment of genuine candor about the actual message the Republican Whip delivered.

And here is the record vote on the cap-and-tax bill.  Each case of a Republican voting for cap-and-tax may have somewhat different causes. Yet could not the leadership have foreseen the intention of these eight members so voting and turned at least some of them around? After all, a few months ago the House Republican leadership managed a near-unanimous Republican vote against the administration’s so-called stimulus package.

No House Republican voted for the “stimulus.”


It is disheartening that six of the eight members who voted for cap-and-tax are no-new-taxes pledge signers.

On the other hand, none are members of the Republican Study Committee.

Six, however, are members of the Tuesday Group “Promoting the Republican Mainstream Agenda.”


 We thought we would take a closer look at just one of the eight Republican defaulters, Representative Dave Reichert of Washington’s Eighth Congressional District.

The Seattle P-I praised Reichert in their post “Inslee, Reichert play key roles in energy bill.”

Here is Reichert’s statement after voting for a national energy tax.  It bears almost no relation to the cap-and-tax bill approved in the House last Friday afternoon.  It is clearly written on the premise that his constituents are unlikely to grasp what he is doing in the House, and that the local media will unquestioningly buy into any explanation he gives in behalf of big-government measures.

In May 2008, Mr. Reichert declared

“I see the Senator [John McCain] and myself as similar in our approach to solving some of the climate change issues that people have been talking about for a number of years. He’s for a cap-and-trade bill, he’s for people coming together, trying to make positive changes in improving our environment.”

This October 2008 extract from the archives of the local Sound Politics, reporting Reichert endorsements from the League of Conservation Voters and the Washington Education Association suggest that conservative policy consistency has not been Mr. Reichert ‘s strongest concern.

But what else has Mr. Reichert been supporting?

  • Just this year, he voted here for a land grab and anti-energy bill. 
  • Here is his February vote for the ballooning of SCHIP bill helping speed the arrival of all-government medicine.  
  • Here is his March vote for the 90-percent retroactive tax punishment bill about which Larry Kudlow warned that “Republicans in the House who just voted for massively high marginal tax rates had better think twice. When financial calm returns to the country, the GOP will not want to be accomplice to a confiscatory tax system that will stifle the economy and push America into decline for decades to come.”
  • Here is Mr. Reichert’s April vote for the dangerous so-called “hate crimes” law which four members here of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission (now six against the Senate version) strongly opposed.

Why has the leadership rewarded Mr. Reichert with a choice committee assignment — on Ways and Means

Yesterday Kevin Mooney in the Washington Examiner here lists Mr. Reichert’s campaign support from “green” PACS in 2008. 

Why does Mr. Reichert also have 2008 support from so-called Leadership PACS including those ‘affiliated’ with senior House Republicans Roy Blunt and Eric Cantor?

The Heritage Foundation analyzed the impact by congressional district (including Mr. Reichert’s) in a study of the committee version of the Waxman-Markey national energy tax —

“While national numbers are startling, many Members of Congress may be tempted to assume that their congressional districts will not be affected because they ‘cut a deal’ or they have an incomplete view of how the American economy functions. Thus, it is crucially important that the Members making decisions, and the people affected by those decisions, understand how their congressional districts will be impacted by Waxman-Markey, or any type of national energy tax.” 

Junk-science-buster Steve Milloy reports that Mr. Reichert’s friends, the League of Conservation voters, said on June 23 —

“In light of the tremendous importance of this legislation, LCV has made the unprecedented decision that we will not endorse any member of the House of Representatives in the 2010 election cycle who votes against this historic bill.”

Clearly Mr. Reichert made a bad choice Friday between the League, and the prosperity and liberty of his constituents.  But is that the entire story? What Puget Sound-area or other West Coast business interests are also urging Mr. Reichert to support cap-and-tax?

There is much material already available, and much that will still come to light from the Waxman-Markey “concept” that Mr. Reichert voted for — details that he likely hadn’t planned on publicly explaining, let alone seeing discussed in the press.

Mr. Reichert’s vote on Waxman-Markey should certainly be the subject of Washington state Tea Parties with signs like “Dave, What About the Jobs Lost and New Taxes.”

We hope conservatives in his district (and region) can confront Mr. Reichert with the economic facts of cap-and-tax — as well as with his other big-government and anti-liberty votes — over the July 4 recess and beyond. 

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