Franken says GOP control of Congress would be 'scary'

Byron York:

Speaking to a group of left-wing activists at the annual Netroots Nation convention in Las Vegas, Democratic Sen. Al Franken painted a bleak picture of what will happen if Republicans win control of Congress.

"They'll implement a truly dangerous agenda," Franken said Saturday. "Everything is on the table, from repealing health care reform to privatizing Social Security." Not only will GOP lawmakers "punch loopholes in our regulations," they will also "shred the social safety net," while their "corporate backers" work to enact "an even more dangerous agenda."

Bad as all that might be, Franken suggested that a little-known Republican congressman from California is plotting something even worse. "Darrell Issa is planning to double his staff," Franken said, referring to the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, "and embark on a witch hunt in hopes of bringing down the Obama administration."

A lot of Republicans chuckled when they heard that. Issa planning to double his staff? Well yes, that's what happens when a party takes over the House. Since 1995, the practice of the oversight committee has been to have a two-to-one ratio of majority to minority staff. When Democrats took control after winning the House in 2006, they doubled their staff, while the losing Republicans cut theirs in half. If Republicans win in 2010, they will double their staff and Democrats will cut theirs in half. That's the way it works.

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Staffing numbers aside, the core of Franken's charge is that Issa will carry out a "witch hunt" to bring down President Obama. By "witch hunt," Franken is referring to what Republicans call "oversight."

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There are several issues the Democrats have been able to bury because of their control of Congress and the Justice Department. Issa has been interested in the Countrywide special loan deals. the Administration's handling of the TARP funds and the administration's response to the Gulf blowout. I think he should also be looking at the Justice Department's handling of the Black Panthers case.

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