Nov 02 2015
In a wide-ranging interview on Yellowhammer Radio Thursday with Cliff Sims, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) unloaded on the process by which Republican leaders negotiated the latest budget deal with President Obama.
“I think it’s a bad deal,” Shelby said bluntly. “It was negotiated at the last minute in the dark corridors somewhere and it’s being rushed through Congress because the Speaker is leaving. The budget agreement would increase the current Budget Control Act spending caps by at least $80 billion. That money will be borrowed. As part of the deal we’re also running the debt ceiling up another one-and-a-half trillion dollars by March of 2017. Add that to the debt. It’s unsustainable… No conservative Republican should vote for that. Period. It’s just a bad, bad deal… We need more conservative Republican senators.”
Shelby went on to call President Obama one of the “most liberal presidents in the history of the country,” and said the deals outgoing House Speaker John Boehner has negotiated with him are “bad for our future generations.”
Below are some other notable topics discussed in the interview.
Responding to his 99 percent score on the latest Heritage Foundation Conservative Scorecard:
Some people buy into the Beltway culture. I haven’t done that. I realize that I’m an Alabamian — fifth generation. And I’m up here at the sufferance of the people. And I’ve been one to go home. Very few U.S. Senators go home like I do and hold a public meeting in every county of the state every year — nearly 2,000 meetings. It keeps me on the ground. It keeps me listening to people.
Teeing off on the ever-expanding power of the EPA:
We have a lot of workers (in the coal industry). This is their job and they’re taking it away from them. This is the power of regulation through the EPA. The president has violated (the people’s) trust, and probably violated the constitution, and we need to fight it… Obama would like for us to just get all our energy from the sun. That might be ideal, but I don’t see that happening. In the mean time, we can create jobs with coal. We can learn — and we have — to burn coal much cleaner. That’s what we ought to be working on. We’ve cut out enough jobs in America. We need every job we can get.
Criticizing overburdensome regulations killing community banks:
Access to capital for small business owners is very important to growth. Small business owners create about 80 percent of the new jobs. If you cut off the capital, or curtail access to capital, we’re not going to grow the economy. I’ve been trying to give some bank relief. Free markets depend on banking. The ordinary person should have access to that, but if we over-regulate the banking system, consumers pay for that. It’s going to be part of the bill. It will be factored in in the interest rate we pay… I have some legislation to get some relief off of Dodd-Frank.
On the Federal Reserve:
Everything is a big secret. That’s one of the things I’m going to talk about at the Federal Reserve next week. The Fed is too secretive. They’re not accountable to anybody. But I don’t believe, because they’re a creature of Congress, that they should be independent with no accountability. I want them to be independent to a certain extent, as long as they’re accountable for what they do. We need more oversight. I don’t want (Congress) to run the Federal Reserve. But Congress should have a strong oversight of what they do and why they do it. It affects every man, woman and child in this country.
On last night’s CNBC Republican presidential debate:
The moderators were overbearing and biased against the Republican brand. I thought most of (the candidates) did pretty well. Rubio had some good shots. Even Christie had a good one about them being so rude… Cruz had a good night… It’s early, but it’s getting there. I think we’ll know who the nominee is by the middle of March. I want somebody who’s conservative, that’s solid, who can win. The 2016 race is a tipping point for the country. If we win the presidency and we stay in control of the Senate and the House, we can get some things done. If we don’t… This country is going to go farther and farther to the left. Let’s fight hard to keep that from happening.
Update: The Senate approved the legislation 64-35 at 3 a.m. Friday morning.