First of all, let's look at rationale of the Senate Republicans, who, keep in mind, had to rewrite their own rules to even create this subcommittee in the first place. Cropsey takes a healthy shot at President Obama; you can read his whole rambling statement here, but for brevity's sake, we will use the Gongwer summary for this purpose:
Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Cropsey (R-Dewitt) said the subcommittee was needed because President Barack Obama had already broken a number of campaign promises in establishing his administration and in enacting the stimulus measure. There are numerous questions as to what is in the federal bill, he said, and the subcommittee will help "tear the shroud of secrecy off the federal stimulus and find out what is in it."
And Mike Bishop practically calls the United States Congress incompetent when he suggested this:
It is important that we do it in a way that gives a clear review for our members so that we know what we are voting on. It didn’t happen at the federal level; none of their members even read the bill. I expect the people who take up the appropriations on this side in this state will not only read the bill, but will understand what they are voting on.
None of the members of Congress understood what they were voting for? Really? Sure would love to see our Michigan Congressional members respond to this statement.
So, now we have established that our Senate Republicans think that President Obama and the Congress really didn't know what they were doing when they wrote and passed this bill, and it is up to a Michigan Senate committee packed with Republicans to set them straight. And yes, "packed" is the operative word here, with Bishop selecting the members. Remember too, that he said the stimulus "makes me sick", so chances are you can bet that the people he selects will reflect his own personal views on the matter.
One twist is the seven-member committee is being configured in a way that allows the Republicans a 5-2 or 6-1 majority on the committee, something that didn't escape Democrats, even though they appeared to be caught off guard by the resolution. SR 19 also allows non-Appropriations Committee members to be appointed.
MIRS reports that Andy Dillon is cool to the whole idea, stating that we already have transparency and oversight on the stimulus through both the WH and state web sites. We also have the General Accounting Office watching the state of Michigan (along with 15 other states) on how this money is spent. And, we have this statement from President Obama, who will not take kindly to any partisan nonsense being played out at the state level:
"We have asked for the unprecedented trust of the American people to deal boldly with the greatest economic crisis we've seen in decades -- and with that the privilege of investing unprecedented amounts of their hard-earned money to address this crisis," Obama said. "With that comes unprecedented obligations to spend that money wisely, free from politics and free from personal agendas. On this I will not compromise or tolerate any shortcuts."
Cropsey and Bishop's statements and actions toward the stimulus have demonstrated that this is all about "politics and personal agendas" for them, with Cropsey attacking the President, and Bishop attacking the Congress, and wanting to use the funds to cut a $700 million business tax surcharge that Republicans created with their grandstanding on the budget in 2007. Oops. Probably not the kind of "transparency" they had in mind after all.
WILX in Lansing is already asking "When And Where Will The Stimulus Jobs Be?", and pretty soon Republicans in the Senate will be forced to answer that question - to both the citizens of Michigan, and to the federal government. Something tells me "more tax cuts" that will create a deeper budget hole will be less than satisfying to all involved - and putting Michigan Republicans in the spotlight with a committee such as this would make them the poster children for obstruction of the economic recovery. Sounds like a plan.