Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Monday night argued that 2013 could be remembered as one of the “worst for the republic," and urged voters to clean house in the midterm elections.
Coburn lamented the rollout of President Obama’s healthcare law, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) decision to use the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules and the unwillingness of both parties to address the main drivers of the debt.
The lawmaker also took the administration to task for delaying the mandate on large businesses to provide insurance to their workers while not offering individuals the same relief.
“The president apologized in part for his statements, but his actions reveal the extent to which he has conformed to, rather than challenged, the political culture that as a presidential candidate he vowed to reform,” Coburn said.
Coburn also blasted Reid for using “raw political power” to change Senate rules to allow most executive branch nominees to advance with a simple majority vote. He argued Reid was trampling minority rights.
“In a republic, if majorities can change laws or rules however they please, you're on the road to life with no rules and no laws,” he said.
Coburn said neither party should be celebrating the modest budget agreement reached earlier this month, which set spending levels for the next two years and avoided a government shutdown.
“The choice to not commit mass political suicide may be a step toward sanity, but it isn't reform,” he said. “Solving the problem — fixing entitlements, reforming the tax code and consolidating the government's $200 billion in duplicative spending — would be reform.”
Coburn released his annual “Wastebook” earlier this month identifying 100 spending programs that he said threw away taxpayer money over the last year.
“If Congress wants to get serious, and be taken seriously, it can start by doing its job,” he said. “It can debate and pass individual appropriations bills — a task that Congress has not completed in eight years.”