WASHINGTON – (Newsblaze) More than an hour after Wednesday’s explosive IRS hearings convened on Capitol Hill, House Conservative lawmakers gathered for a mid morning event with the media entitled “Conversations With Conservatives.” The event was held in the Rayburn House Office Building, and just because Lois Lerner, the tax exempt status chief for the Nation’s revenue collection agency was pleading the fifth, that wasn’t stopping Republicans from talking about it.
“There’s a lot of people in Cincinnati we haven’t talked to” remarked Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS), “We’re a long way from being finished.”
And some on the eight member panel thought it wasn’t clear that it was finished for Lerner either. “It’s not clear she waived her rights,” said Rep. Justin Amash. Later on that day, Rep. Darell Issa (CA) the House Government and oversight chairman discovered she had not invoked the fifth amendment properly and informed her she would be called back later.
Others discerned it was an opportunity for a conversation about the role of government. “We need to have discussion about whether one-sixth of our economy can be controlled by big government.” added Rep. Labrador (ID).
“When you look at this scandal, they’ve proven they can’t be trusted with tax exempt forms, so how can they be trusted with Obamacare. That’s why we fought so hard to repeal Obamacare last week,” remarked Rep. Steve Scalise (LA).
Labrador placed responsibility at the feet of the media by explaining they “need to start by saying ‘if this was Bush’.” And the timing of their outrage only corresponded with the revelations against the nation’s leading wire service, the Associated Press.
However, as to whether Impeachment should be pondered in response National Review’s Katrina Trinko, panelists were cautious. “The only conversation we’re having is getting the facts.” Scalise added, “We’ve still not gotten the first name of who’s involved with this scandal.”
The unfolding IRS scandal was not the only topic discussed. The next major looming debt ceiling was, as well. “If you look at what S & P and other ratings agencies are saying, we have do some serious things to avoid a downgrade,” Rep. Labrador said.
Most lawmakers during the discussion hinted at a ten year plan and that some sequestration cuts were locked in. “We’re going to have to do better with a ‘no budget no pay’ system” contributed Justin Amash. “No Budget No Pay” is the concept that lawmakers should not be compensated for not producing a fiscal plan for the nation.
The “conversations” gathering also touched on the current debate over the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed. Rep. Raul Labrador, who dominated the day’s discussion on the topic, implored conservatives “don’t just say you are against immigration reform,” making the argument that reform itself doesn’t cost money but it was the subsides along with it.
Those subsides were a concern to Rep. Huelskamp who referenced the recently released Heritage Foundation study that noted the cost of the reform bill will cost $6.3 trillion. That prompted the panel’s moderator, Heritage Foundation Director of Media, Rob Bluey, to note that while the Cato Institute was supporting the increased immigration in the bill, that they were expressing caution at the cost of increased entitlement spending.
Other Issues Touched On Briefly This Afternoon
On Bengahzi, Rep. Todd Rokita (IN) expressed opposition to the establishment at this time, of a permanent select committee, by saying “no reason current committees” could not handle it, and that the appointment of other new bureaucracies would hamper the process. His indifference to the idea was met by the support of Rep. Huelskamp, who favored the idea.
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK) also referenced the recent Moore, Oklahoma tornado by saying he “couldn’t be prouder” of the resourcefulness of his fellow Oklahomans in the current recovery effort, and that Rep. Tom Cole was on the ground for residents who were displaced by the EF-5 Tornado.