Kicking the Can Down the Road is No Way to Run a Government
In their Pledge to America at the start of this Congress, House Republicans declared that they would no longer “kick the can down the road.” Yet on issue after issue, that’s just what they’ve done – offering partisanship instead of progress.
As two noted non-partisan congressional scholars recently noted, the GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. “It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition,” they declared, noting that “when one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.”
And that’s exactly what has happened. After the biggest Do-Nothing-Congress in history, leading to the lowest approval ratings for Congress ever, the Republican leadership has given up even the pretense of trying to get work done, cutting and running for the campaign trail at the earliest date in a generation, leaving a laundry list of important work unfinished, including:
- A Jobs Agenda: Republicans have been in control of the House for over 600 days and still don’t have a plan to get Americans back to work. They’ve consistently ignored efforts by the President and Democrats in Congress – like the American Jobs Act – that would create jobs and help grow the economy for everyone. Instead, they’ve focused on an extreme partisan agenda, voting to weaken laws that protect the environment and American families from abusive business practices, and fighting to protect tax breaks for Big Oil and companies that ship U.S. jobs overseas.
- Middle Class Tax Cut: House Republicans continue to hold tax cuts for middle class Americans hostage as a bargaining chip so that the very wealthiest Americans don’t have to pay their fair share.
- Deficit Reduction / Sequestration: Each day that Congress is not in session, our economy moves closer to the fiscal cliff. If Republicans were serious about deficit reduction, they would join us to pass a bipartisan balanced deficit reduction package, instead of walking away from the table time and time again.
- Farm Bill: In June, Senate Republicans and Democrats joined to pass a bipartisan long-term farm bill. Since then, the bill has languished as Republican Leadership in the House has held it hostage for their partisan agenda. With the country still struggling under the largest draught in 50 years, its long past time for Congress to provide farmers with the certainty and relief they need.
- Unemployment Insurance: It’s critical that Congress extend unemployment insurance to help the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet in these tough economic times. Not only does that help hurting families keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, it also helps spur the economy.
- Medicare Payments for Doctors: If Congress doesn’t act soon to prevent a steep cut in Medicare payments to doctors, seniors across the country could see their options for quality healthcare decrease.
- Violence Against Women Act: While the Senate passed a bipartisan extension of the successful Violence Against Women Act, House Republicans have tried to gut the protection in the law, refusing to put the Senate bill up for a vote.
- Post Office Reform: By refusing to address the postal reforms necessary to keep our postal system operating smoothly, Republican inaction contributed to the first U.S. Post Office default in history.
- Relief for Underwater Homeowners: The GOP continues to be more concerned about giving Big Banks and Wall Street free reign to engage in the types of practices that got us into this mess than it does in helping underwater homeowners on Main St.
The Republican record of inaction for the middle class is the wrong direction for America. It’s time for the GOP to get back to work and get its priorities straight. Democrats will continue to call on the Do-Nothing Republican Congress to put policy ahead of politics, and get our work done for American families and businesses.