In politics, as with most things in life, one should choose one’s associates well. Call it the “company you keep” maxim. From the time we are children being warned to not hang out with certain people to the time as adults we are weighed by societal filters that, like it or not, sometimes adjudicate us by the perceived character of one’s associates.
Presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, already working under the onus of being the leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the U. S. House of Representatives, has been a loud and constant voice of disapproval of anything Obama-sanctioned, but her latest foray may lose all of its thrust due to those who stood beside her to sponsor the legislation: Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
On Wednesday, Rep. Bachmann, along with Gohmert and King (both tea party members), announced the introduction of a bill that would ensure that military personnel receive their paychecks even if the government were to shutdown. It is one of the latest pieces in the debt ceiling game aimed at weakening the position of the opposing side.
“Don’t allow our military men and women to dangle over a fire and think they won’t get paid,” Bachmann said at a press conference (as reported by CNN).
Bachmann said that the president’s use of examples like government paychecks and Social Security payouts were scare tactics to get Republicans to raise the debt ceiling by August 2, the last day Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner assured Congress he could juggle and defer the nation’s debt responsibilities before having to make hard choices between which debts get paid and what programs remain open when the government enters shutdown.
Bachmann and the tea party are nearly unanimously opposed to raising the debt ceiling, which lawfully takes an act of Congress. If the debt ceiling is not raised, all non-essential programs operated by the government will be shut down.
Geithner has been deferment and postponing payments on many government programs since the debt ceiling was reached on May 16. With debt outpacing revenues taken in by the government, the Treasury is forced to borrow money on which to operate. Operating with a federal deficit, as it has for over a decade, forces the Treasury to borrow to keep everything within the government operational.
Although Bachmann’s bill is well-intentioned, its merits may be lost in its blatant show of posturing, because payments to military personnel would be one of the first expenditures made. Still, the two co-sponsoring representatives at her side make her announcement seem of less importance than it truly might deserve.
Louie Gohmert is the Texas representative who became embroiled in the controversial, and maintained by some as the ridiculously hypothetical, proposition that “terror babies” were being born in the United States, legal children to illegal immigrants or immigrants with visas that are enemies of the state (like terrorists and Muslim extremists), then being taken to their parents’ homelands to be indoctrinated and trained for their future return to the U. S. (because they are legal citizens of the United States), just so they can engage in acts of terrorism.
Steve King is the Iowa representative who has took the next step in immigration, proposing a bill in January that would deny automatic citizenship to those born in the U. S. of immigrant or extra-national parents. King is famous for his vitriolic and hyperbole-laden speeches, such as his racially-tinged and falsehood-laden speech against restitution payments to black farmers (where he called claimants city-dwelling “drug addicts”) and his completely fabricated story about then House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s “pet mouse project.”
Since Bachmann already has a problem with disseminating falsehoods and fabricating things, perhaps it would be best if she chose her associates a bit more wisely when introducing legislation.