|The GOP stonewall|
The Republican merry band of stonewalling bunglers started out the new year with their same tactics of saying no to anything President Obama presents. On January 18, the GOP Congress voted to block Obama’s request for $1.2 trillion in additional borrowing authority, indicating the same Republican reaction to “anything Barack Obama” would continue throughout 2012. Oh, that’s right, it’s an election year.
Tea Party flake, Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican representative, said, “Until we have a plan to deal with our fiscal crisis, we should not raise the debt ceiling any further.” In other words, push the problem to as close to the November election as possible, and, by the way, I’m running for Senator. He also voted against the temporary payroll tax extension back in December 2011, the bill to extend payroll tax deductions and unemployment compensation.
Following is a list of bills, appointments, etc. that this gang of obstructionists has stalled or stopped in their tracks:
- GOP blocks vote on Richard Cordray to head consumer bureau (later appointed)
- Republicans Block Congressional Health Care Disclosure
- GOP leadership blocks congressional insider-trading ban
- Senate GOP blocks Democrat disaster aid
- GOP attempts to block EPA’s climate change rules
- Republicans block Tax on Companies that ship jobs overseas
- GOP blocks Political Ad disclosure bill
- Republicans block The Small Business Jobs Act (later passed)
- GOP blocks The DREAM Act
- Republicans block repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (later passed)
And there are more that you can see here.
All of which brings us to President Obama’s proposed budget that he says is a “blueprint for how we can rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded.”
At the same time there is the end of February deadline to pass an extension for the payroll tax cut and unemployment compensation which is sure to heat up the rhetoric since Obama wants to cover the cost with a “surtax on income over $1 million and eliminating some corporate tax subsidies, like those going to oil and gas companies.” Republicans want to cover it partially by “extending the current pay freeze on federal workers and requiring wealthier seniors to pay higher Medicare premiums,” according to CNN.
If we run into the same GOP barricade that we did in December, the result is that 160 million American families would pay an additional $1,000 in taxes per year. The package will cost an estimated $160 billion and that is where the President wants millionaires to step up to the plate and pay their fair share. New chief of staff Jack Lew would not predict passage but recounted the “ugly fight” this past December over the payroll tax, something we need to avoid this go around.
This past Saturday in his weekly presidential address, Obama urged Congress to “stop this middle-class tax hike from happening, period.” He also said “No drama. No delay. And no ideological side issues that have nothing to do with this tax cut. Now is not the time for self-inflicted wounds to our recovery. Now is the time for common-sense action. And this tax cut is common sense.” Naturally Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, did his number to make the Dems the bad guys.
GOP House Speaker John Boehner wants to vote this week on a Republican plan to extend “…the payroll tax cut — but not unemployment benefits or a delay of cuts in fees to doctors who treat Medicare patients,” as reported in USA Today. The White House is wary and press secretary Jay Carney says there is still time to negotiate a settlement. Not sure there are many Americans that would agree with Carney.
People throughout this country have become weary over the shenanigans of the GOP Congress, including some Democrats, and their lowest approval rating ever supports this. It’s like they just don’t get it, and until this self-serving clan of taxpayer moochers decides that they do work for us, there will be no change.
We all have a chance to do something about this in November and it will be interesting to see just how concerned voters really are. Or will it be business as usual?