Tough talk during tough times
House Democrats held a news conference Thursday to criticize Republican-sponsored budget cuts that might have been avoided or minimized if the GOP was open to some other ideas, like raising taxes or borrowing from a reserve known as the Budget Stabilization Fund.
Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, the House Democratic leader, was in rare form. "Their policy is tethered to a sound bite: 'We all need to live within our means,'^" Gelber thundered. "I wonder if any of them has a grandparent in a nursing home ... I don't understand what these folks are up here to fight for." Later, Gelber decried "the inhumanity that's flowing from this place," adding: "These are not things a civilized society does. It isn't fair, it isn't right, it isn't fair."
Rep. Ray Sansom, R-Destin, the House budget chairman, didn't hear Gelber's comments directly. Told of them, he said: "It's very disappointing that the minority leader who preached bipartisanship as a hallmark has turned into the most partisan and divisive minority leader I've experienced in 20 years ... He's creating animosity and divisiveness ... I've offered a hand to them. That's not like Dan. He's a great guy, personally. I think he's letting partisan politics override common sense."