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For most of the last year, I thought the Republican party should have been the party of 'no.' Resisting Obama's health care takeover, the stimulus boondoggle, and cap-and-trade....those were definitely times for the GOP to say 'NO'.
But lately, the GOP has been saying 'NO' to things they should be saying 'YES' to, such as the jobs bill and the Congressional deficit reduction committee.
The cornerstone of the $15 billion jobs bill is to give employers tax credits for hiring new workers. How can the GOP be against that, other than to resist the Democrats ? For the last year, Republicans have been rightly calling the stimulus package a failure because of it's enormous cost and because it didn't do enough to help the private sector, but then when the jobs bill comes up to help private sector businesses, including small businesses, the GOP votes against it. The GOPers will say 'we voted against the jobs bill because it's money we don't have, and it will add to the deficit.' That may be true as a standalone policy, but....the GOP voted against the deficit reduction committee !...which could have reduced government spending and voila!, more than offset the cost of the jobs bill. In addition, creating jobs will reduce the deficit by increasing government revenue, which has fallen due to rising unemployment. By voting against both policies, which have traditionally been policies Republicans would embrace, Republicans have in effect voted against their own stated beliefs in tax cuts and deficit reduction.
New Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and four other Republicans broke ranks with the party to help pass the jobs bill. Good for them. As a result of the GOP helping to shoot down the deficit reduction committee, President Obama is forming his own deficit reduction committee, which is a much weaker substitute for a Congressional deficit reduction committee. Congress is where the legislative authority to make budget cuts resides. The President's committee has no such power. It is more of a cosmetic exercise, and the GOP is partly to blame for that.
The GOPers are saying the deficit reduction committee is just a front for the Democrats to justify tax increases, but GOP involvement could have helped insure that it wasn't. If the Dems had only proposed big tax increases and little in the way of spending cuts (as they probably would have), then the GOP could have rightly highlighted that and pointed out that the Democrats were not serious about reducing government spending. Instead, the party of 'no' missed the boat altogether, and the country missed a chance to reduce the deficit, which is our number one long-term problem.
Thanks for nothing, GOP. After a year of complaining about the lack of bipartisanship, you missed two golden opportunities to engage in it. You just became what you've been complaining about.
In fairness to the GOP, it wasn't only Republicans who voted against the Congressional deficit reduction committee. 23 Republicans voted against it, but 23 Democrats also voted against it. The final vote was 53-46, seven votes shy of adopting the committee. There was a lack of seriousness and bipartisanship from both sides of the aisle, and our deficit problem remains unaddressed. Shame, shame. This is why Americans are dissatisfied with both parties, and the political games they play.