As the now infamous, least productive session of Congress in nearly forty years came to a close today, coupled with the opening of a brand new session, one must ask: How will this session differ from the last? That is, will the marginally led GOP Congress place the interests of “We the People” first, or proceed with their fealty to their neocapitalistic ideology? Immediately following the President’s announcement that the GOP’s created fiscal cliff crisis had been averted, John Boehner immediately outlined the GOP agenda for the next session of Congress. He said, “The federal government has a spending problem. 2013 is the year we finally enact entitlement reform and pro-growth tax reform to begin to solve our country’s debt problem.”
This statement coming from the very individual who walked away from a potential deal with the President which included spending cuts, only to toss his failed negotiations over to the Senate. Lest you miss my point: It is not what the Speaker said that disturbs me most, but what he neglects to say. For example, wouldn’t it have been refreshing to hear how grateful the Speaker was that the Senate worked in bipartisan fashion in order to avert the very crisis he and his recalcitrant and obstructive colleagues created? Or, what about providing an affirmation to Vice President Biden, the Administration’s representative for his contributions? In a similar vein, the Speaker could have easily pointed out how the Bill is referred to the McConnell/White House deal providing praise for his fellow GOP colleague in the Senate. But, no dice! Of course, when one places ideology over reality, the outcome is predictable. Therefore, I ask how low can the GOP go?
Perhaps more striking is how the Speaker neglected to share with the American people how his party refused to take up legislation after passage of The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which would have assisted those affected by Hurricane Sandy, providing the much anticipated relief those people need. This, after promising the Governor from New Jersey Chris Christie, earlier in the week, that the House would deal with Christie’s request for additional resources, after dealing with the fiscal cliff fiasco. No, the Speaker’s House adjourned before lawmakers even had a chance to debate the $60.4 billion dollar request. Sadly, I fully understand why the Speaker neglected to mention this to the American people, especially since he ignited a firestorm, even among his own Republican caucus, so much so, that the outspoken Peter King (R-NY) responded on Fox News with the following admonishment to residents from these affected states: “I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds.”
Even the President expressed support for the Governor’s request: “When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need,” the president said in a statement. “I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today, and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans.” Despite the President’s urging, coupled with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle confronting the Speaker on Tuesday night, while admonishing him to bring the Bill to the floor, all went away empty handed; especially the very people affected by this storm. How low can the GOP go?
Of course, speculations abound regarding why the measure wasn’t brought to the floor for discussion, especially after King provided the following account of the incident with CNN: “I was chasing the Speaker all over the House floor last night, trying to talk to him and his staff,” said King on CNN. “He kept telling me wait until the vote is over, wait until the fiscal cliff vote is over, everything will be taken care of. And then he was gone. He refused to meet with us. He actually yelled at Congressman [Frank] LoBiondo, saying, ‘I’m not meeting with you people.'”
Even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie conveyed his anger with the Speaker by telling the media how he made several calls to the Speaker regarding the matter, while not receiving one single return call or explanation. Sadly, the Governor shouldn’t be surprised here. Perhaps the Tea Party led GOP, so certain of a Romney victory, still blames the Governor for getting too warm and fuzzy with the President during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In fact, I specifically recall those on the “Right” doing just that, in their lame attempt to explain Romney’s loss, despite their running mate, Fox News consistently telling their viewers how Romney had the election in the bag! And what to say about the several rumors spreading that the sole reason the Tea Party led GOP refused to bring the relief aid to the floor being due to the very states requesting that relief voting for the President’s re-election? Once again folks, I ask you, how low can the GOP go?
Perhaps Governor Christie, and Congressman King neglect to understand the overwhelming influence, Eric Cantor (R-VA) mysteriously holds on the current GOP. If each of you will recall, back in September of 2011, Cantor in response to requested relief from states ravaged by tornadoes, wildfires, Tropical Storm Bill, and Hurricane Irene, insisted on a 40% cut in funding for first responders in exchange for the requested disaster relief. As Jason Easely from Politics USA opines, “Gov. Chris Christie specifically blamed John Boehner for the bill not being brought to the floor, when the person he really should have blamed was Majority Leader Eric Cantor.” Easely continues, “The fact that he chose to call out Boehner instead of the right wing billionaires’ best boy reveals a lot about both Chris Christie and who really controls the Republican Party.”
If nothing else, Cantor’s actions unveil the blatant hypocritical ideology the current GOP embraces. That is, they want spending cuts alright, but only spending cuts to those programs that benefit others, that is, hard-working middle class Americans! When it comes to their precious defense programs, or any of their other “sacred cows” they strike faster than a cobra towards any hand making an attempt to reduce that spending. Case in point: Back in 2011, when funds were requested by these ravaged states, the Tea Party hijacked House, with Cantor leading the charge, held these very funds hostage, using them as a bargaining chip in the debt-ceiling negotiations.
In another related incident in September 2011, the Tea Party controlled GOP led House passed a Bill funding the government with $1 trillion dollars in exchange for cuts in the amount of $3.7 trillion dollars for funding alternative energy programs. To be clear: These funds provided funds to auto companies while assisting in the funding of fuel efficient technology. No matter what one’s position is regarding this policy, the point is this: The funding assisted in creating nearly 10,000 jobs, at a time when the GOP led House was “supposed” to be creating legislation which created the very jobs they promised the American people. And just how many job bills were produced out of the previous dysfunctional Congress. Zero!
Of course, according to pundits from the conservative media complex, along with Fox News, these supposed experts predictably complained that it was the Senate who was “sitting on nearly 15 GOP proposed jobs bills,” when in actuality all these bills were comprised of was deeper tax cuts for the wealthiest, while lifting all of those pesky regulations protecting “We the People,” from abusive practices engaged in by these corporations. Yet, Cantor spun the story a bit differently on his government provided blog by stating: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had no problem diverting clean energy money to use on the ‘cash for clunkers’ program or for state bailouts. Yet when it comes time to help families cope with disaster, Harry Reid is on track to shut down the government rather than share those funds with people in desperate need. Talk about misplaced priorities & Washington run amuck.”
What Cantor conveniently neglected to mention on his blog however, was how the Senate had already passed a bill prior to him making this statement, but apparently that proposed bill did not meet Cantor’s ideological standards. He also neglected to mention how his Tea Party led GOP proposed Bill would have cut 10,000 jobs, according to many economic experts, but then again, when Cantor and his party’s loyalty is to big oil corporations and subsidies, why would he? That certainly would not have gone over well with the American people at that time, especially since his party, which ran on a platform of job creation for the 2010 mid-term, had not produced one single jobs bill! Cantor and those of his ilk, embracing this radical neocapitalist ideology have absolutely no problem with placing two wars on a credit card, passing Medicare D, considered by many to be nothing more than a symbolic “tip of the hat” to big business, but when it comes to legislation which meets the needs of individuals versus corporations, or those who suffer from natural disasters, or middle-class tax relief, or just creating an environment where everyone plays on a level playing field, they draw a metaphorical line in the sand, demanding offsetting spending cuts in order to meet constituents’ needs. Once again: How low can the GOP go?
And so yesterday, as the 112th session of congress ended, and the 113th session began, one would “think” that the first order of business would be to make certain the House bring to the floor the very bill they neglected to pass for some unknown reason, containing the requested assistance by those states affected by Hurricane Sandy, right? I mean, since the previous dysfunctional congress neglected to do so, and, after reaping all of that criticism from representatives within Boehner’s own party, one would think that this definitely would be the first order of business.
But sadly, it wasn’t! In fact, former GOP nominee, and theocracy advocate Michelle Bachmann sent out the following Tweet yesterday: “At noon today, I introduced the first bill of the 113th Congress to repeal Obamacare in its entirety! So, let’s see: The nuts we pay nearly $175,000 a year to represent “We the People,” actually voted 33 times on this same exact bill during the previous session, only to introduce as their most important priority, the exact same legislation in this session? This, especially when the previous session neglected and failed the very people who are desperately in need due to a “natural disaster” which they had no control over? Perhaps the good Congresswoman didn’t get the memo: Despite all of the lies, rumors, and myths surrounding the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, coupled with the sickening amount of resources contributed by corporate lobbying groups to ensure its defeat, the Bill has been ruled Constitutional by none other than the conservative Chief Justice John Roberts. Once again I ask: How low can the GOP go?