The following post, written by The Rev. Robert A. Franek, is a part of Politicus Policy Discussion, in which writers draw connections between real lives and public policy.
Senate Republicans have once again manifested their complete lack of courage and failed to muster any moral outrage over the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, they were all too eager to confirm him.
Once again Democrats took to the Senate floor with hours of speeches, this time about the dangers of placing someone who wanted to destroy the EPA in charge of it. Yet again, these passion filled speeches were not enough to prevent his confirmation, nor even delay it for a little more than a week. Pruitt is under a judge’s order to release thousands of emails of correspondence with oil and gas executives by Tuesday and Democrats wanted to postpone the vote on his confirmation until the Senate resumes regular session following the Presidents’ Week recess. Yet, this time the Senate Republicans were not willing to wait for the release of emails and what they might reveal, so they cowardly and quickly voted this delay of 10 days down. Minutes later this climate change denier was confirmed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
It is terribly frightening to think that our already endangered climate is now at the mercy of someone who doesn’t even acknowledge the reality of climate change and wants to reduce regulations that will lead to increased pollution endangering not only plant and animal life, but also our air and water.
As sea levels rise and storms become more severe and as rates of chronic illness go up due to environmental pollution at least we know who to hold responsible.
The Republicans in the Senate love to claim their Christian faith and its importance in their life, but then vote against the basic tenants of the faith at every turn. Scripture is clear that the faithful are called to be stewards and caretakers of God’s good creation. And further, the most basic tenant of loving the neighbor – every neighbor – especially the vulnerable neighbor as oneself is violated every time the concern is only for the corporate neighbor. Certainly, regardless of politics doing everything possible to assure the planet remains habitable for future generations must be a priority. Moreover, this same party that speaks so highly of life fails to care for the lives endangered when regulations are reversed. People of all faiths and those who don’t ascribe to any faith tradition can see this tragedy and moral failing.
As these spineless Republicans were busy with votes before adjourning for the Presidents’ Week recess, Donald Trump decided that after a month in office it was time to hit the campaign trail and head for Florida (again) with a stop in South Carolina on the way. For those keeping track this is his third consecutive weekend trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort at a staggering cost to taxpayers of now over ten million dollars for these get-a-ways and with significant economic impact on the Lantana airport and local businesses.
While it should be patently evident to anyone with a pulse that Donald Trump does not know how to govern and so continues to resort to rallies to satisfy his constant need of praise, Congressional Republicans continue to live in denial even as the smoke around the Russia scandal continues to mount and intelligence agencies get closer to finding the fire.
Even as Donald Trump’s approval rating continues its decline, Congressional Republicans will be slow to act as they need his signature should they ever get around to repealing the healthcare law, tax reform, or other corporate-friendly middle-class destroying legislation.
The Campaigner-in-Chief will continue to hold his bombastic rallies of lies and attack the freedom of the press at every turn and tweet while weekly whisking away to Mar-a-Lago. This should no longer be surprising for it’s who he has shown us to be from the beginning. There will be no pivot despite the great hopes of Congressional Republican leaders. And even if Congressional Republicans can’t face their constituents during district days this week, they will continue to placate the president by passing on the need for independent investigations into the Russia scandal.
Senate Republicans will continue to confirm the incompetent, unqualified, and dangerous filling the swamp that is Donald Trump’s cabinet, despite the valiant efforts of Democrats to sway even a handful of votes. Still, Democrats are using the power they have to burn the clock and slow the system down preventing much else from getting done. Perhaps the light work schedule will come back to haunt Republicans as soon there will not be enough days to accomplish their entire agenda of horrors and like with the executive orders from the oval office the nation may be sparred some small suffering thanks to a Republican love of vacation.