Once the GOP took control of both houses of Congress, we were told that we would see what “governing” was all about. They would make sure that everything went smoothly, and “things would get done.” We are coming close to the end of the year and we now see what their definition of “governing” is all about.
As usual, their version of governing is kicking the can down the road. As the economy gets better, they still want to enslave us with their “austerity” budgets. They favor “supporting our troops” yet they are allowing the VA to run out of money for health care of our veterans this fiscal year.
The highway transportation fund is about to shut down on July 31. The Senate decided to pass a bill that would fund the highway transportation fund for six years. But, as usual, they would only give it enough money for three years. I don’t know how you will allow the highway transportation fund to work for six years if you are only going to give it money for three years. I must have missed that equation in the “new math” Republicans seem to favor.
Naturally, being so eager to “govern” the Senate leadership must have talked everything over with the House Republican leadership so their bill would “sail” through the House. Wrong! Seems the House doesn’t want to take up the Senate bill. Yes, in order to pay for the Senate bill, especially if you want to pay for the whole six years, you need to raise taxes on someone. The House is totally against that. But, the biggest stumbling block isn’t about how to pay for the bill. It is simply that the House doesn’t want to take up a 1,000 page bill just days before their yearly, or should I say monthly, recess begins on August 1.
Of course, the bill had a lot of hurdles to get by in the Senate as well. There were far more important issues for the conservatives than simply funding the highway transportation fund. There was a fight over repealing the Affordable Care Act. Cruz and Lee had to attempt to put an amendment on the highway transportation fund that would repeal the Affordable Care Act.
They consider that amendment germane to funding the repair of our highway infrastructure. How, they never really said. Then there were amendments that would change the abortion laws in this country. Somehow abortion has a real impact on how the highways are fixed in the country as well.
The Senate version of the highway transportation fund is going to pass the Senate. But, it won’t even be taken up by the House. Instead, the Senate will take up a House bill that will give money to the highway transportation fund for three months. That means it will run out of money on October 29 instead of July 31. How convenient. Pass a kick the can down the road bill and head out for vacation!
The only good part of this kick the can down the road bill is that it will include “some” money to the VA. I haven’t heard if it will be the full $2.5 Billion the VA needs to keep from shutting down hospitals and having to furlough thousands of health care providers, but it is at least a start.
Somehow we have become a country where politicking and running for office has become more important than actually doing you job in office. How can it be that Congress is so in favor of their recesses that they can’t stay in Washington and do their job? Don’t you think the voting public would be happier if Congress stayed at work until it was finished?
Republican politicians have recently said the American people need to work more hours to help the economy grow. One of the principles I taught in Leadership and Management classes is you lead by example. If Republicans want Americans to work more hours, why are they working less? Especially when you consider all of the nightmarish issues that face our country.
We still have to pass the 2016 budget, which won’t be easy. There is the debt ceiling problem lurking in the near future. With the passage of another kick the can down the road bill, we will still be facing a problem giving money to the highway transportation fund. As a result of this mess, we are facing the real possibility of another government shutdown. And all Congress seems to care about is their August Vacation.
They told us that they would “work with our friends across the aisle” yet they refuse to hold any discussions with Democrats on the budget. They refuse to discuss any part of the budget and the sequester problems with Democrats except increasing spending for the Department of Defense. How is that “working with our friends across the aisle?”
None of this is any surprise. Both the House and Senate Republicans cannot even keep their own caucuses in order. There is another bid to take the gavel away from Boehner. Cruz is calling his leader a liar on the floor of the Senate. And compromise within their own caucuses is considered a four-letter word to their conservative wackos.
As a result, we still have not seen any real meaningful legislation that will move the country forward. We haven’t seen anything that resembles a “working” Congress. We only see Republican infighting. We see disharmony among Republicans. We still see them calling each other “conservatives in name only.”
It means that each Republican is trying to prove he/she is the true conservative in order to get the Tea Party money launderers to give money to them. Their motto seems to be, “damn the country! Full speed ahead on campaign financing for me!”
Of course, some of this could be dampened down if the Congress would pass real campaign finance reform. With big money calling the shots especially for Republican candidates, this infighting and name calling will just continue. I guess that is the price you pay for trying to buy elections. Don’t you just love Citizens United?
Regardless of the reasons, the Republican controlled Senate and House of Representatives are still giving wide audience to just how NOT to govern. They are proving once again that they have no idea of what the word “leadership” really means. And, as usual, we the American people are still suffering and paying the price for it.