Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis addresses Wyoming ranchers
Douglas — “I opposed that bill,” is a phrase Congresswoman Cynthis Lummis uses a lot when talking about her work in Washington, D.C. Such was the case mid-August when she spoke to ranchers gathered for the annual Cattlemen’s Conference.
“Congress is interesting,” says Lummis. “It is not fun, it is interesting. It can be incredibly frustrating in this particular environment where there are only 178 Republicans out of 435 members. Nancy Pelosi has a substantial majority and she excerpts her leadership with a heavy hand.”
Lummis says she and the present Congressional leadership, along with the President, see government quite differently. “Nancy Pelosi, along with Harry Reid and Barack Obama, clearly thinks government creates wealth and that it is their job to see that wealth is redistributed justly in their opinion.”
On the contrary, Lummis says, “I disagree with that fundamental premise and feel that the private sector creates wealth and the government’s role is to create a playing field under which the rules are understood, the judiciary is honest and that individuals can exercise their own hard work and entrepreneurial skills freely and enjoy the fruits of their labors.”
Lummis says the fundamental difference in beliefs is the “genesis of the rift between the two parties.” She offered countless examples of congressional work that she believes could have and should have been done better.
“We have, since I’ve been there,” she says, “released the second half of the TART money without having an accounting of the first half of the TART money. I opposed that.
“We passed a $787 billion stimulus bill, $1.1 trillion if you include the interest on that money. Of that $787 billion, less than seven percent was for infrastructure and transportation. I opposed that bill.
“We passed a $410 billion supplement budget for the year 09 that contained 8500 earmarks amounting to $19 billion. I opposed that.
“We passed a $3.6 trillion budget for 2010 that includes a nine percent increase in discretionary spending at a time when the American people are losing their jobs and suffering an enormous economic downturn. I opposed that bill as well.”
Summing it up, Lummis says, “The cumulative effect of those bills is that we are aggregating more debt than has been incurred in this country since George Washington through George W. Bush combined. In spite of the fact that President Obama says he inherited this deficit, he is doubling this deficit in five years and tripling it in 10 years.”
Lummis says, “That is a synopsis of where we have been in seven months.” With little opportunity to put forth what she believes to be better ideas Lummis says she has little choice but to vote no.
“Many of those bills were brought to the floor without going through committees, without going through mark-up and without opportunity to amend,” says Lummis. “They go to the rules committee where maybe three to five amendments are agreed to that will be allowed to be discussed on the floor and then they are voted on.” She speaks of a senior congressional member from Washington who expressed his disappointment that the current freshman members will not have the opportunity to see how Congress used to function and should function.
Lummis says the stimulus bill was presented to congressional members the same day it was voted on. A similar scenario existed with the cap and trade bill when members were presented a 300-page plus amendment at 3:09 a.m. on the same day the bill passed the House.
Also on the list of legislation she’s opposed is a bill that would create single species sanctuaries for wild horses. While the legislation cleared the House, Lummis is optimistic it won’t meet success in the Senate. Lummis is also opposed to the current administration’s healthcare reform proposal.
A constituent recently asked Lummis how she sees her role as a member of the minority party in Congress. Her response: “To speak about a better way and to speak about it as clearly and concisely and correctly as I can so the people in this country will share that with their members of Congress and that collectively the American people can turn things around. I believe that’s beginning to happen. I see, especially with this healthcare debate during the recess, tremendous opportunities for the American people to weigh in.”
Double S Feeders and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup host the Cattlemen’s Conference each August in conjunction with the Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo. Jennifer Womack is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.