Saturday, February 03, 2007

Chichester and Potts pound GOP

From Senator Ken Cuccinelli's (R-37th Senate District) "Compass" Newsletter:

Chichester and Potts Pound GOP

Thursday night I sat through a four and a half hour Senate Finance Committee meeting. It was surreal. Chichester and Potts took a baseball bat to the Republican Party.

It was the committee meeting where the bill that was similar to the House of Delegates Republicans’ compromise transportation package was presented. While I had not yet been convinced to support this bill, it was clearly the Republican attempt at a compromise.

So what happened? Senators Chichester and Potts led an ambush of the bill, explicitly working with the Democrats on the committee to torpedo the Republican compromise, even though they and their Democrat allies virtually admitted that their alternative bill had no chance in the House of Delegates because of its massive tax increases. They intentionally played right into the Democrats’ hands – the same Democrats who want no package so they can try to run against the GOP candidates for “not doing anything” (read: ‘those dirty Republicans won’t raise taxes enough!’).

It has been years since there was as much cooperation, if not yet agreement, among Republicans both within the Senate GOP caucus and House Republicans. Frankly, it has been as constructive a session in terms of GOP cooperation as I remember. This was a pleasant change. Oh well. That’s done. And you can send Senators Chichester and Potts a thank you note for that.

Amazingly, as Potts presented his substitute bill, he turned and declared that he was “in touch with the pulse of the people” as he put forward a bill that sought to impose the exact same sales tax increases in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads that had been defeated overwhelmingly by the voters in those areas in the respective referenda. In touch with the pulse of the people?

So now the nascent GOP compromise has been killed by Chichester, Potts, Quayle and others and their big tax hike bill is out on the floor. On Monday, I expect there will be some parliamentary questions about Potts’ substitute bill… we’ll see how that comes out!

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