House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., right, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington. Friday night, Feb. 11, 2011. (Photo: Associated Press)
EASTON, Md. — February 13, 2011 — When the Republicans under the leadership of Speaker John Boehner strutted into the House, flexing their political muscle and promising to do the people’s business, something they accused the Democrats of neglecting, they said it would be all about jobs and the economy. As of today there are no GOP job bills on the horizon.
Is this incompetence or cynical politics? You decide.
Actually the House Republicans are making good on their promise not to work as hard the Democrats did by passing fewer bills. Fewer bills supposedly translate into less government.
Just look at their schedule for the last two months and you will see they’re already keeping their promise. When not taking off for official holidays, they are barely there: two weeks on and one week off. And Fridays are usually travel days.
No wonder there are no jobs bills.
So what are the House Republicans doing? When they are in town they’re fixated on dismantling what President Obama hath wrought.
The first bills out of the GOP box of tricks were attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka, Health Care Reform, which they dubbed in their usual over-simplification, the Repeal of the Job Killing Health Care Bill.
Of course, the “violent language” prompted outrage in this new era of “speak nicely, please.” So the Republicans tried Job Crushing and Job Destroying, neither of which caught on, probably because the Affordable Care Act doesn’t kill, crush, or destroy jobs. Rather it will create them as the health industry reforms and grows.
Don’t think so? Then head to FactCheck.org and see for yourself.
While Republicans talk about repeal and reform of the original bill, no reform package has emerged from the GOP back rooms. Perhaps the insurance companies and big pharma haven’t gotten around to telling them what to write.
And so the GOP wastes valuable time by not doing the people’s business. This month’s Gallup Poll shows what Americans believe are the most important problems facing us, and it’s not repealing health care, much less returning to the GOP’s favorite dog and pony show, abortion.
Republicans are now trying to make the Hyde Amendment more than a rider to Medicaid and other health related bills, by making it a permanent, federal law. The GOP christened it the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” just in case there was any confusion.
Still the economy looms uppermost in most people’s minds, so just how should Boehner tackle the deficit? Due to pressure from Conservatives this past week, he’s seeking $100 billion worth of cuts in non-defense, discretionary spending in the next seven months. That would mean draconian cuts.
However, the most recent Pew Research Poll reveals that in almost every category, Americans still want funding increases across the board, from Education to Agriculture. They even want the government to increase funding for Health Care. But don’t touch Medicare! What’s a Party to do?
One way is to shift the focus. How about getting rid of those pesky federal regs?
Last December, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who now heads up the House Oversight Committee, sent out letters to businesses and related groups, seeking their complaints about those Federal regulations, which were most detrimental to their businesses. No letters were sent to consumer or environmental groups.
The replies flooded in. More than 200 in all, claiming that government regulations have strangled jobs.
Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the Committee’s Democratic Ranking Member, didn’t buy into the corporate whining: “Will we bend to a lower standard where children are being exploited, for example, so that we can make more profit?”
After eight years of Bush regulations that can best be described as do-nothing and then-do-less, the Obama administration had decided it was time to enforce and even write new regs that protect those areas of our lives that are most vulnerable, such as food safety and the environment.
Issa, however, has long been itching to investigate, effectively tying the hands of government agencies that work for us. His job for the GOP: keep them mired in endless committee hearings.
That’s not enough cynicism for you? Take a look at the newly appointed chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, freshman Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD). Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house!
Harris, as a Maryland state senator, received the shameful environmental score of 13% this year and a lifetime score of 13% from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
While in the Legislature, Harris had introduced an amendment in 2010 that would have cut funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration, rather a shocking position for someone who now supposedly represents the people who live along nearly half of the Bay’s shoreline.
Yet on his Congressional website, Harris touts his love for the Chesapeake Bay area, calling it “a prized treasure, not only for Marylanders but also for our entire region.”
With such pitch perfect hypocrisy, it’s little wonder Harris snagged such a plum assignment, even though he’s only a freshman.
He probably won the hearts of the GOP with not only his Tea Party credentials but with his outburst at the Congressional orientation for newcomers when he demanded to know why his government-subsidized health care wasn’t to kick in right away.
Yep, this is the same man who won his seat by demonizing health care reform.
Sadly such cynical politics still seems to be the norm for the GOP. I’m just wondering if Americans who voted in this bunch have buyer’s remorse yet.
And if not now, when?
Catherine Poe has been a Liberal for as long as she can remember. Last year, Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards.
As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform womenʼ s prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims.
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