Most people recognize a mark of good moral character is diligently following through on a promise or pledge, and it is normal to lose confidence in a man whose word is no good. In some respects, breaking a promise one had no intention of keeping in the first place is a premeditated lie, unless there are extenuating circumstances beyond the person’s control. In the lead up to the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans campaigned aggressively on one platform; job creation, and as a result of that promise, they won a majority in the House of Representatives inciting Speaker of the House-to-be John Boehner to claim Republicans primary goal was to create jobs and increase employment. In fact Speaker Boehner’s exact words were, “We’re going to have a relentless focus on creating jobs.”
It is one year and eight months later, and if a man is only as good as his word, then John Boehner is as worthless as the rest of the Republicans in Congress who promised to create jobs, and have spent the entire 112th Congress blocking job creation measures. Indeed, the Republicans in Congress have barely accomplished anything except blocking economic recovery and attacking women’s rights, and now they are taking two months off while taxpayers are still paying them and waiting for them to fulfill their campaign promise to create jobs.
On Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that after next week, the House will recess until November 13 to ensure that several vital bills remain in limbo until after the general election. In some respects, it does show consistency on the part of House Republicans who have made it their practice to accomplish nothing to deny President Obama any success at creating jobs or improving the economy, but in reality, the Republicans are “keeping millions of Americans unemployed to put one man (President Obama) out of a job.” It is little wonder that 60% of Americans have labeled this Congress as “the worst Congress ever” with an approval rating in July of 12%.
When the House goes on hiatus next week for two months, they will leave seven major bills languishing, 12 fiscal year Appropriations Bills, drought assistance, postal service reform, cyber-security legislation, fixes for Medicare reimbursement rates, and the Alternative Minimum Tax all unaddressed. The seven major bills are crucial to Americans, and many of them passed the Democratically-controlled Senate through mostly bipartisan efforts, leaving thinking Americans to assign the blame directly to House Republicans, and specifically to John Boehner. Now, pundits tend to blame the extremists in the tea party caucus of intransigence on compromise, but their obstruction fits in to the Republican’s promise to block any economic recovery efforts they planned on inauguration night in January 2009.
Some of the bills they refuse to even consider are job creating bills that are crucial to economic recovery, and just the uncertainty is already responsible for the loss of jobs in a burgeoning industry manufacturing durable goods for the global market. Despite bipartisan support in the Senate that may act next week to renew an expiring wind energy tax credit, the House is unlikely to pass the renewal that already led to job cuts and threatens the wind energy industry. There is a similar scenario with the Veterans Job Corps Act where the Senate is considering bipartisan legislation to assist America’s veterans find jobs, prompting the Air Force Times to report that House Republicans have “shown no interest” in legislation to support veterans who served the country.
In July, the Senate passed a bill extending tax-cuts for the first $250,000 in annual income for working families, but the Republican House leadership refused to consider the bill unless Democrats ransom the hostage by acquiescing to Republican demands for a full extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. For over a year, Republicans blocked the President’s American Jobs Act that funds immediate infrastructure improvements, tax credits for employers and working Americans, and aid to states and local governments to prevent more layoffs of firefighters, teachers, police officers, and other public officials. To date, in Republican-controlled states, over 800,000 public sector workers have lost good living wage jobs and it is having a profound impact on communities, downstream jobs, and revenue for cash-strapped localities. Remember, Boehner’s promise that “We’re going to have a relentless focus on creating jobs?” He was lying in 2010 and he is still lying when he promises that Republicans have the recipe to create jobs and grow the economy.
Although any deliberate attempts to block job creating bills is egregious in this economy, it is the House Republicans refusal to pass the Farm Bill that may cause the most damage to Americans. The Democratic-led Senate passed a 5-year farm bill that has strong support from even conservative groups like the Farm Bureau Association, and yet the House leadership has not even scheduled a vote. The current law expires September 30, and without passage, 90% of the work of the Department of Agriculture could be defunded, and after the debilitating droughts across the country this summer, it is a cruel ploy on the part of House Republicans to not even allow the bill to come up for a vote. Besides punishing farmers, if the law lapses, tens-of-millions of working Americans, children, and senior citizens risk losing their only life-line for food assistance and will fall into certain poverty.
Republicans have shown themselves to be the worst set of legislators in history for deliberately obstructing jobs, economic recovery, and the survival of American citizens for the sole purpose of denying President Obama a second term. They have also left the Violence Against Women Act languishing after the Senate passed a strong bill to protect women, as well as stopping sequestration budget cuts Republicans voted for last August. They did pass a bill requiring President Obama to find offsets for cuts they don’t like, but Republican Majority Leader Canter said there was not one single compromise he was willing to make to get a deal. Cantor’s remark epitomizes the entire Republican behavior since January 2009, and it is the sole reason the economy is not in full recovery and why S&P downgraded America’s once-stellar credit rating.
When Republicans (including vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan) met in secret to plot their obstruction of the President’s agenda in 2009, they would have done the country a huge favor if they had just announced their intentions and went home for four years. They have blocked, obstructed, or defeated every single attempt to create jobs, grow the economy, and help the American people whether it was bringing manufacturing jobs back to America or giving tax breaks to small businesses to start hiring. They are guilty of treason according to the U.S.C. for deliberately damaging the economy of the United States during a time of war, and now they are taking two months off to campaign and promise if they are elected again, they will do their jobs if President Obama is not reelected. It is not just Republicans in the House either. Senate Republicans have obstructed, by filibuster rules, every piece of legislation that would get the economy recovering to, as Mitch McConnell said, “make President Obama a one-term president” and whether they are successful or not, for the first time in his life McConnell kept his word by doing everything in his power to block America’s recovery.
There are no words for this group of Republicans to describe the level of contempt they have for the American people or this country. They have sat on their hands for three years and eight months and if not for a Democratic majority in the 111th Congress, America would be deteriorating in a major depression just so Republicans could keep their promise of obstructing an African American President by blocking economic recovery. Maybe Republicans were true to their word in blocking President Obama’s agenda, but they are rank liars for promising to “have a relentless focus on creating jobs” in 2010, and for deliberately killing millions of jobs so John Boehner could say, “so be it.” Speaker Boehner, you, and your Republican cohort, are indeed only as good as your word, and most Americans would agree that you are liars, traitors, and not worth the air you are stealing from the rest of America.