Sunday, January 25, 2015

New kid on the block

Dave Brat represents Virginia’s 7th District in the United States Congress after having blind-sided incumbent Eric Cantor in last June’s republican primary and prevailed over a democrat and libertarian seeking the seat in the November, 2014 general election.

Fulfilling a campaign promise to meet often with his constituents, Brat addressed a packed meeting of the Goochland Tea Party on January 23. Cold, rainy weather did not deter 127 people from trekking to Goochland Courthouse to hear from the neophyte Congressman.

Brat has morphed from the reserved academic persona he projected when advising Virginia State Senator Walter Stosch (R Henrico) a few years ago into a gregarious, polished politician.

For his appearance in Goochland, Brat ditched his tie and wore a toothy grin as he was welcomed with a standing ovation. When someone called him to a rock star, Brat replied that the only true rock star resides in the heavens.

Having been sworn in on November 12, 2014 to serve the remainder of Cantor’s term, Brat had barely found his seat when the “cromnibus” bill to keep the government operating came up for a vote. Brat, citing his pledge to adhere to the Virginia Republican Creed, voted nay. Each of 70 republicans who voted against the bill, explained Brat, represent about 700,000 people. Their action got the attention of the rules committee.

Brat then discussed the machinations of congress. Building consensus on an issue is only part of the task. The actual proposed legislation must be written to reflect that agreement. So far, it sounds like Brat is reading bills he votes on.

The Senate, Brat contended, is “like royalty” with horrendous rules. Procedure, in both houses, he said, is all important. Even good bills can be derailed by failing to follow procedure.
Echoing his campaign comments, Brat said that the United States Constitution enumerates 18 powers for the federal government. Along the way, with the best of intentions, the government created programs to help widows, orphans, and the indigent overstepping its limits and paving the way for general welfare and imposition of an income tax to pay the bills.

Brat said that his background in ethics may be more helpful in Washington that his training as an economist. “They know that we’re putting all this spending on our kids’ credit cards to pay the bill down the road.” He said that there are no lobbyists in Washington protecting the interests of your people.

The President, said Brat, has a lot of power and the Congress needs to get serious on defunding programs. That could be problematic. He contended that the messaging coming out of the GOP is flat footed; in spite of having the largest majority in 80 years, republican leadership seems to feel “now is not the time to screw it up by taking stands.”

Brat characterized the current business climate as being on a “sugar high of Fed stimulus” to keep the business climate stable. When rates start to rise, “that stability goes under the bus,” he said.

Free markets, said Brat, are a social choice and right now, America is going the other way. He said that it is not the government’s function to create jobs, but rather to create an environment of low taxes and regulations that encourages free enterprise to flourish.

Brat cautioned the audience to keep tabs on legislation to fund border security, which he believes is a Trojan horse for amnesty.

Although Brat voted against reelection John Boehner of Ohio as Speaker of the House, he praised Boehner for inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress about Iran’s nuclear program.

Bart reiterated his pledge to serve no more than 12 years in Congress regardless of term limits. The 7th District voters proved last year, however, that they don’t need no stinkin’ term limits. That’s what the ballot box is for.

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