Prepare for another heaping helping of austerity. With a little over a week left before massive cuts to the federal discretionary budget occur on March 1, prospects of a deal are looking dimmer. Democrats and Republicans in Washington, DC, seem nowhere close to agreement, and some Senators are confident none will be reached.
While on his public “listening” tour in Wyoming Monday, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) told a small audience in Casper, “Sequestration is going to happen. The plans that are being offered won’t pass,” echoing comments made by his U.S. Senate colleague John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) on CNN Sunday.
Enzi sits on the Senate Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over taxes and entitlements, as well as the Budget Committee, which sets the broad goals for federal spending. Since his vote will be courted this week and during the battles in March and beyond, I decided to examine his top twenty donors, listed on OpenSecrets.org.
Holding a seat on the Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight, Enzi receives plenty of money from accountants. His top contributor, donating nearly twice as much as any other source, is auditing firm Deloitte with $61,000. Ernst & Young (12th), another of the Big Four accounting firms, gave $26,000. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (fifth) threw in $30,000, while the American Bankers Association (third) deposited $30,500.
Health insurance supremo Blue Cross Blue Shield (second) has given $31,500 to the member of the HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee member. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists gave him $25,500, and global pharmaceutical concern Abbott Laboratories (19th) injected $22,500.
As a member of the Finance Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure, Enzi has received numerous donations from the corporations he writes regulations for. These include fuel retailers who sell at the pump, the National Association of Convenience Stores (tenth); coal and other mineral providers the National Mining Association (11th); oil and gas behemoth Exxon Mobil (15th), the world’s largest company by revenue; and Arch Coal (16th) and Foundation Coal (18th), which operate mines in Wyoming and several other states.
Also pitching in heavily to Enzi are fuel-using transportation interests such as the Union Pacific Corporation (fourth), which runs the railroad of the same name; the National Automobile Dealers Association (sixth); and package shipping specialists United Parcel Service (seventh).
Others of Enzi’s top twenty donors include the largest trade association in the US, the National Association of Realtors (eighth); telecom multinational AT&T (ninth); union shop foes the Associated Builders and Contractors (14th); the National Restaurant Association (17th); and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (20th).