Scott Brown, who was a critical vote in passing the financial-regulation bill in the Senate, proves he’s as smart as CONTENTIONS readers. He writes a letter to Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd:
I am writing you to express my strong opposition to the $19 billion bank tax that was included in the financial reform bill during the conference committee. This tax was not in the Senate version of the bill, which I supported. If the final version of this bill contains these higher taxes, I will not support it.
It is especially troubling that this provision was inserted in the conference report in the dead of night without hearings or economic analysis. While some will try to argue this isn’t a tax, this new provision takes real money away from the economy, making it unavailable for lending on Main Street, and gives it to Washington. That sounds like a tax to me. …
Imposing this new tax is the wrong option. Our economy is still struggling. It is wrong to impose higher taxes and ignore the impact it will have on our economy without considering other ways we might offset the costs of the measure. I am asking that the conference committee find a way to offset the cost of the bill by cutting unnecessary federal spending. There are hundreds of billions in unspent federal funds sitting around, some authorized years ago for long-dead initiatives. Congress needs to start to looking there first, and I stand ready to help.
Well, maybe this isn’t a done deal yet. And maybe — in tribute to the legendary Robert Byrd — there should be some extended, very extended debate on the whole bill. Really, how many senators know what’s in this thing?