Today’s votes on Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) “war on the suburbs” program demonstrates, once again, that having a GOP conference full of liberals is actually worse than having a smaller conference full of conservatives. Much like an interception is worse than an incomplete pass in football or a ground out into a double play is worse than a strike out in baseball, electing liberal Republicans helps Democrats more in the long run than working with a minority of conservatives to combat the Left and strive to win future elections with an unvarnished message to voters.
As we observed earlier this week, Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) amendment to abolish the war on the suburbs would have drawn a sharp line between the parties and empowered Republicans to run against Democrats who allow the federal government to extort local communities into accepting their social engineering. Specifically, the Lee amendment would have defunded the entire AFFH tool which allows HUD to extort localities that don’t have enough low income housing in their jurisdictions to meet the illegal HUD regulation.
Instead of allowing that amendment to go unchallenged, leadership let liberal Republican Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who had never previously engaged on this issue, to work with Democrats on a bipartisan amendment “solving” the problem. Except it didn’t solve the problem; it merely prohibited an activity that doesn’t occur. It was crafted carefully to only prohibit HUD from actually redrawing zoning maps, something they have never done. They never tell county government exactly where they must redraw their maps, just that if they fail to comply with the data from the AFFH tool, they will lose their funding and be subject to anti-discrimination lawsuits. However, on paper, the Collins amendment sounds like it is blocking this unpopular regulation – exactly the cover Democrats needed!
All but 9 Democrats proceeded to vote for the Collins amendment today, giving them bipartisan cover in their states to claim they stopped HUD’s intrusion into local zoning laws. The 9 no votes came from Democrats in very liberal states or those not up for reelection this cycle. Clearly, most Democrats are feeling the heat on this issue.
Then, knowing that all Democrats would vote down the Lee amendment, most Republicans, including members of leadership, were free to vote the right way on the Lee amendment with the full confidence that it would be defeated anyway. The Senate voted 60-38 to table (kill) the Lee Amendment, with 16 Republicans falling on their swords, so many more can get a hall pass. Needless to say, all but a few Republicans will not utter a word about this issue to the media in their home states and make this an election issue. This is the muddled mess we have with a bipartisan oligarchy.
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