In a perfect example of what the Republican-controlled Congress thinks its duties are, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) spent the morning second-guessing President Obama rather than attempting to get any actual work done.
We have already seen this morning how appallingly bad is Mitch McConnell’s senate leadership. Here is proof the House under Paul Ryan is not any better.
In a statement responding to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Ryan claimed,
“This story grows more disturbing with each passing day. It now appears that on the same day American hostages were freed from Iran, the administration not only agreed to the $1.7 billion cash ransom payment, but violated a key term of the nuclear deal by prematurely lifting ballistic missile sanctions. These additional secret concessions directly jeopardize our national security, and cast further doubt on this flimsy agreement. President Obama owes the American people an immediate explanation.”
President Obama said last month, “We do not pay ransom for hostages,” and we didn’t.
The alleged $1.7 billion ransom payment was in truth the United States paying Iran back $400 million it was owed for military supplies never delivered under a deal with the former shah, plus $1.3 billion interest. It wasn’t a ransom. It was Iran’s money to begin with.
Like Donald Trump, when Paul Ryan accuses Obama of paying a ransom, he is ignoring critical elements of what transpired.
We call those “facts.”
Ryan repeated what he said a month ago and claims Obama owes Americans an explanation for avoiding further destabilization and possible war in the Middle East – and oh, by the way, getting our hostages back – but he doesn’t think he owes the American people an explanation for not doing his job.
Our system of government provides a balance of powers. This does not include Congress micromanaging the executive branch, or dictating foreign affairs.
In an obvious attempt to create a scandal out of nothing, much as Republicans did with Benghazi and then Hillary Clinton’s emails, Paul Ryan eschews his responsibility to contribute something – even a little something – to the running of our government, and instead attacks President Obama for doing his job.
Congressional Republicans repeatedly accuse Obama of trying to cut Congress out of the decision-making process (though in truth, they cut themselves out even before he was elected when they decided to oppose his every move), even while they try to gain control of our foreign policy, which is by design, not the legislative branch’s responsibility.
Foreign policy experts endorsed the Iran deal negotiated by the Obama administration. Not only did we put a stop to Iran’s nuclear program, we got our hostages back. Thanks not to Republicans in Congress, but to President Obama.
Politico quipped back in May, “Call it the Seinfeld Congress — all about nothing.” And it is. Sadly, the American people need it to be about something, and that, Paul Ryan steadfastly refuses to do. It is easier, after all, to criticize the man Republicans swore to obstruct when he took office.