Tax relief, trade promotion, energy policy, pension reform, have all withered under Tom Daschle\’s supervision

First in a series of five

WASHINGTON – Taxpayers across the country cheered yesterday when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would make last year\’s historic tax relief plan permanent. The bill aimed to avert a $4 trillion tax increase in the second decade of the 21st century, as tax rates in 2011 would jump back to pre-2001 levels.

But, showing yet again his determination to stop President Bush\’s domestic policy agenda, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle told reporters on Tuesday that he will "never bring up the permanent tax cut the president is advocating." The Washington Post took the news to heart, saying today that the House "[sent] the bill to a certain death in the Senate."

Since taking over Senate leadership last June, Sen. Daschle has stalled action on:

  • Tax Relief: As noted above, Sen. Daschle will not even bring permanent tax relief to a vote in the Senate, likely out of fear of its passage. With no action, American taxpayers will see a $500 billion tax increase in 2011-12 alone.
  • Energy: After the House passed broad energy policy legislation last August, the Senate stalled action on the bill for eight months, and yesterday killed the ANWR provision, one of the most important policies to help make America independent of foreign sources of energy, and making a compromise all but impossible.
  • Pension Reform: On April 11, by a bipartisan vote of 255-163, the House passed H.R. 3762, the Pension Security Act, which would make it easier for employees to access investment advice, and allow them to diversify the stocks in their retirement plans. No Senate action on the bill is scheduled.
  • Trade Promotion Authority: The House passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in November, which would give the president power to negotiate international trade agreements to be later approved by Congress. America is party to just three of 130 such trade agreements, and American export jobs are lost every day the Senate balks at a vote.
  • Judicial Nominations: Altogether, 94 seats in the federal judiciary are currently unoccupied. The Senate has approved only eight of 30 Presidential nominations to appellate courts. Three have had a hearing but no vote, while 18 have no hearing scheduled. Eight have languished for almost one year.
  • Faith Based Initiative: The House passed the President\’s faith based initiative on July 19th of last year and the bill has stalled in the Senate since, due to Senator Daschle\’s failure to lead the way to compromise on the widely popular "charitable choice" provision, which would allow sectarian charities to receive government grants.

"Daschle\’s inaction amounts to first-rate obstructionism," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington. "It\’s as though Daschle wants to be remembered as the man to blame for a $4 trillion tax increase, judicial inertia, trade isolationism, energy dependence and pension fiascos," he concluded.

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