There are a lot of people in Washington, D.C who do not like Oklahoma’s junior Senator. As a medical doctor, Dr. Tom Coburn has earned the right to have that title before his name, but there is another title that he wears just as proudly and just as deservingly. Just ask anyone who has came up against him on fiscal matters during his time in the Capitol and they will tell you he is called Dr. No for a good reason. He is as straightforward on how he does his job as Senator as any person in Washington and he does not mince words. Go to his Senate website and browse around and you will find examples of his character, many of them in the form of reports that tell a very unflattering story of how our federal government spends our money. Such unfailing resolve in fighting government waste doesn’t win him a lot of friends around budget time, but he doesn’t let that keep him from telling the truth as he sees it about these matters.
You can imagine my pleasure when I heard this next bit of good news. I first caught wind of this possibility from The McCarville Report, as Mike McCarville posted a report that Dr. Coburn was being considered for one of the open GOP seats on the Senate Finance Committee. As I prepared for this post, I discovered that Coburn had indeed been given one of the seats. The other seat went to Senator John Thune (R-SD). Here is more on the story, from The Hill.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a leading proponent of cutting federal spending, has landed a post on the powerful Finance Committee, giving him jurisdiction over Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Coburn has pledged to tackle entitlement reform and voted to reform Social Security as a member of President Obama’s fiscal commission.
Coburn is in talks with Democratic and Republican colleagues to put together a package that would include cost-cutting proposals endorsed by 11 of the commission’s members.
A seat on the Finance panel gives Coburn a strong complement to his oversight position on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He plans to use his position as the senior Republican on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to oversee entitlements.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who is widely seen as a promising presidential contender in 2012, won the second open Republican seat on Finance.
Let me not beat around the bush on this. I think this is a very positive step for the GOP and a very positive sign that real progress could be made on the deficit and spending problems we have in Washington. These problems are not going to go away on their own and having a powerful voice such as Coburn’s sitting on the committee that oversees at least half of the federal budget will help in no small measure. This is no reflection on Senator John Thune, as I think he is a good man and Senator, but I am partial to Dr. Coburn and his particular brand of frankness. For a prime example of said frankness, please watch the videos included in an earlier post, Senator Tom Coburn – The United States Of Debt. It should serve to remind us all of just how serious of a situation our country finds itself in and how seriously Tom Coburn views it.
I can not make the claim that Coburn’s seat on the Senate Finance Committee will fix all that is wrong with our budget and spending process, but it is a very serious step in the right direction. Sitting on the Committee will elevate his voice against wasteful spending and for budget reform to an even greater volume and that will do nothing but good. Given the fact that the GOP leadership are not exactly enamored with Coburn, it also gives me hope that they may be moving in the right direction. We shall soon see.