Democrats on the House Rules Committee sent a letter today demanding that Republicans tell taxpayers how much of their money John Boehner is going to spend on suing President Obama.
The letter was sent to House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) from Democratic Reps. Louise M. Slaughter, James P. McGovern, Alcee L. Hastings, Jared Polis.
In the letter, Democrats point out that Republicans have given Boehner an unlimited budget:
The draft resolution places no limit on the amount of taxpayer funds the Speaker may dedicate to his lawsuit against the President. The American people have a right to know – before the House votes to initiate such a lawsuit – how much money will be allocated to this exercise.
We do not expect you to provide a detailed budget for the lawsuit, and we understand that unforeseen variables will influence the ultimate cost. But there is no reason to assume that the House of Representatives cannot do what every American family must do – use its best judgment to estimate future expenditures. The President’s Office of Management and Budget must provide such estimates every day. We do not see why the House of Representatives should be exempt from the ordinary budget discipline of estimating the cost of its own activities. We request that you provide to the Committee, in advance of our markup, your best estimate of the anticipated cost of the lawsuit to the American taxpayers.
We have learned in too many cases what happens when the House fails to disclose the anticipated cost of such activities in advance. The American public only learned, after the fact, that the House had wasted $2.3 million on its misguided intervention in the Defense of Marriage Act litigation. Another example is the resolution to launch yet another investigation of the Benghazi matter. When the Rules Committee considered this partisan legislation, we asked repeatedly – and in vain – for a cost estimate. We learned after the vote that the House plans to spend as much as $3.3 million on this duplicative and wasteful effort this year alone – more than the budgets of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and the House Committee on Ethics.
The House Rules Committee Democrats were correct. The taxpayers have witnessed House Republicans waste tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on stunts like seven Benghazi investigations, Darrell Issa’s IRS witch hunt, repeated Obamacare investigations, the DOMA lawsuit, and thousands of hours of employee manpower wasted fulfilling Republican requests for information that they already have.
The only thing that House Republicans seem able to do efficiently is waste taxpayer money. Speaker Boehner said that he wouldn’t give President Obama a blank check on funding for the humanitarian crisis on the border, but he has given himself a blank check when it comes to his lawsuit.
Republicans tout themselves as the party of fiscal conservatism, but it is Democrats who are demanding fiscal accountability from Boehner. Earlier this week Democrats demanded transparency from Boehner on the cost of the outside attorneys that he will be hiring for his lawsuit. Today’s letter took things a step beyond and demanded that Republicans let the taxpayers know how much money Republicans are planning on spending on this lawsuit.
This not an unusual request. The taxpayers have a right to know where their money is going. The American people work hard for their paychecks, and they have a right to know how Boehner is planning on spending the money that they are sending to him.
It’s an easy question, and Republicans already know the answer. The heat is on the Speaker, because the American people are demanding to know how much his lawsuit against the president will cost.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association