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Report: Gregg Voted to Abolish Agency He’s Set to Lead

It seems that Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Commerce Department, doesn’t exactly believe in the necessity of that

Hajra Shannon
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Feb 03, 2009

It seems that Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Commerce Department, doesn’t exactly believe in the necessity of that agency.

CQ’s Jonathan Allen points out that Gregg, one of the upper chamber’s most vocal fiscal hawks, voted twice in 1995 to abolish the department — once in the Budget Committee and once on the Senate floor. From CQ:

Gregg’s 1995 votes were cast for the fiscal 1996 budget resolution, a nonbinding blueprint that outlined the GOP’s fiscal priorities after Republicans won full control of Congress for the first time in 40 years.

The Senate version of the controversial measure envisioned spending cuts of more than $960 billion, almost half of it from Medicare and Medicaid. Democratic efforts to amend it were uniformly rebuked by a united GOP majority on the Budget Committee.

Ultimately, the Commerce Department survived, and Gregg has since shown more interest than most of his Republican colleagues in funding some of its agencies, particularly the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Gregg also fought President Bill Clinton’s efforts to increase funding for the Commerce Department to administer the 2000 census. Indeed, Gregg’s commitment to basic functions of the department has been questioned at times.

“He was generally pretty harsh on them and not really interested in their programs, especially the commerce side of things,” said a Democratic appropriations aide.

A Republican staffer was even more blunt, telling CQ: “I guess if you can’t destroy it, go be in charge of it.”

It brings back memories of John Bolton, the United Nation’s critic who later became U.S. ambassador to the U.N. And it begs the question: At what point do we stop blaming Obama’s candidates (think: Tim Geithner; Tom Daschle; Larry Summers), and start questioning the judgment of the guy who wants them at his ear?

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