White House: Congress Trying to ‘Trump Up Phony Scandals’

July 22, 2013 - 4:55 PM

pfeiffer

White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – A senior White House official griped on Monday that Congress wanted to “trump up phony scandals” rather than help middle-class Americans as the Obama administration faces increasing questions about the IRS-Tea Party scandal, National Security Agency surveillance, Benghazi and other controversies.

Instead of focusing on the important issues, “too many in Congress are trying to score political points, refight old battles, and trump up phony scandals,” said White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer made his remarks on Monday in a blog post and e-mail to supporters previewing President Barack Obama’s Wednesday speech on the economy in Galesburg, Ill. He will speak about the same topic that day in Warrensburg, Mo.

But the President thinks Washington has largely taken its eye off the ball on the most important issue facing the country,” Pfeiffer wrote. “Instead of talking about how to help the middle class, too many in Congress are trying to score political points, refight old battles, and trump up phony scandals. And in a couple of months, we will face some more critical budget deadlines that require Congressional action, not showdowns that only serve to harm families and businesses -- and the President wants to talk about the issues that should be at the core of that debate.”

An inspector general’s report in May revealed that the IRS was targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny in relation to their tax-exemption applications, a practice that senior administration officials insisted was isolated to “rogue agents” in the IRS Cincinnati office.

Last week, however, two veteran IRS employees testified before Congress that the matter went as high as the IRS chief counsel’s office in Washington, D.C., an office held by one of only two political appointments of the president.

The NSA surveillance of telephone and internet communications revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has raised suspicion by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and prompted a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. It also has prompted an inquiry from European Union allies.

Obama

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the death of Trevyon Martin at the beginning of the daily White House briefing in the Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, July 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Another matter that has not been resolved is the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012 that ended in the death of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Last week, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) inquired with the Obama administration as to why survivors of the attack were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Also, during Obama’s first term were the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious gun-walking operation that allowed nearly 2,000 U.S. guns to flow to Mexican drug-trafficking organizations until two of the weapons were found at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Another major first-term controversy surrounded a $500 million Energy Department loan to the politically-connected solar panel maker Solyndra.

Pfeifer, the former White House communications director before becoming a senior advisor, said the president is focused heavily on the economy.

“I just finished reading the draft of a speech the president plans to deliver on Wednesday, and I want to explain why it's one worth checking out,” the e-mail said.

Pfeiffer wrote that the president’s economic vision is one where “America is strongest when everybody's got a shot at opportunity -- not when our economy is winner-take-all, but when we're all in this together.”

“This Wednesday, almost five years after the financial crisis fueled a devastating recession, and two years after a debate over whether or not America would pay its bills that harmed our recovery, the President will return to Knox College to kick off a series of speeches that will lay out his vision for rebuilding an economy that puts the middle class and those fighting to join it front and center,” Pfeiffer continued. “He'll talk about the progress we've made together, the challenges that remain, and the path forward.

“And over the next several weeks, the President will deliver speeches that touch on the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class in America: job security, a good education, a home to call your own, affordable health care when you get sick, and the chance to save for a secure, dignified retirement,” Pfeiffer said. “They will include new ideas and new pushes for ideas he has discussed before. They'll outline steps Congress can take, steps he'll take on his own, and steps the private sector can take that benefit us all.”

As CNSNews.com reported on July 5, the unemployment rate since Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009 has been at 7.5% or above – 54 months straight – which is the longest stretch of unemployment at or above that rate since 1948.