Republican Party

Republicans Threaten to Withhold Government Funding Over Obama’s New EPA Rules

It is safe to say every American has witnessed a spoiled child that becomes very angry and annoyed when they do not get what they want, and just as safe to say no-one enjoys being around petulant children. However, insolent children have an excuse insofar as they are the product of bad parenting whereas petulant adults, particularly Republican adults in Congress, have no other excuse than they are despicable human beings. Over the course of the past four years Republicans have gone to great lengths to get what they want including threatening (twice) to cause a credit default that cost America its stellar credit rating, and shutting down the government that cost the economy billions of dollars.

The government shutdown last October was over eliminating the Affordable Care Act and destroying the full faith and credit of the United States government, but if Senate and House Republicans fail to get what they want and force President Obama to bend to their will (again), they are threatening to shut down the government when the new fiscal year begins on October 1. The latest shutdown threat is not about government spending, abolishing the Affordable Care Act, or raising the debt limit, but protecting the dirty energy industry and increasing damage from climate change as well as adhering to their raison d’être to oppose anything proposed by the African American man sitting in the Oval Office.

Republicans in the House and Senate are so angry at the President over new Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-powered power plants that they are threatening to withhold previously agreed-on funding for the government unless the EPA regulations are eliminated by September 30. It is yet another instance of “my way or the highway,” or hostage politics, from Republicans the White House said “is Republicans repeating their government shutdown play to protect the profits of big polluters.”

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In the Senate, Republican Conference Chair John Thune said “there’s a lot of support” among Republicans to use the appropriations process to block the EPA rules, and he pledged that the GOP will do “anything we can do to prevent the administration from going forward with what are really poorly timed, very burdensome, very expensive … regulations.” As far as the timing, Thune is absolutely correct; the regulations should have been enacted two decades ago to reduce the devastating effects of climate change. However, his assertion that the new rules are “very expensive” is a lie because there is no expense to the government. Still, they are threatening to shut down the government unless they get their way and protect the Koch brothers and dirty coal industry from regulations that will benefit the entire nation’s economy as well as the American people who are ultimately suffering most from the devastating effects of climate change. It is yet another example of Republicans doing the will of dirty energy industry at the expense of the people’s “general welfare,” and unless they are allowed to harm the people by eliminating the EPA’s regulations, they will harm them by shutting down the government.

The senior member of the environmental committee in the Senate, one of the leading man-made climate change deniers, Jim Infhofe said “I would do anything to block it, including shutting down the government. The regulations would constitute the largest tax increase in the history of America on the American people and accomplish nothing for it.” After the past five years, one would have thought that the Affordable Care Act was the largest tax increase in the history of America to hear Republicans tell it, but like their “Obamacare” lies, Inhofe’s claim is false. The new EPA rules are not any kind of tax increase on the people, or the coal-fired power industry; they are long overdue regulations to rein in carbon emissions driving climate change and Inhofe knows it. He also knows, whether he admits it or not, that the regulations will accomplish exactly what they are intended to; reduce carbon emissions, reduce the effects of climate change, and reduce health hazards of air pollution.

Congressional Republicans, as is always the case, are advocating against an Obama policy on climate change that a large majority of the American people support; even if they have to pay higher energy costs. According to several surveys, including a recent nationwide survey conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News, 70% of Americans (including 63% of Republicans) nationwide support federal regulation of power plant emissions. Still, Congressional Republicans, including leadership, universally oppose the EPA’s proposal that House Speaker John Boehner described as “nuts” and they will use funding the government as a hostage unless they get what the coal industry and the Kochs want.

As usual, Republicans are united in their willingness to hold the government hostage to get their way regardless of the will of the people, or the continuing severe damage climate change is wreaking on the people and the economy. John Thune said, “There’s a lot of support on our side to block that, and if you want to send a clear message to the administration about a series of regulations that you think are very detrimental, one way to do that would be through the appropriations process.” The ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions, said Republicans must reverse what he claimed is “presidential overreach by Obama on environmental regulations,” and that since Congress has the power to withhold funding to shutdown the government to get what the coal industry wants, “it is power Republicans will clearly use.

First, under the Clean Air Act of 1970 established by the United States Congress, the President has the authority to impose clean air standards, so the idea of presidential overreach is another Republican lie. And as far as being detrimental, reducing the effects of carbon emissions, regardless the reason, can only be good for America. However, Republicans have a serious aversion to doing anything that is good for America or its people, but they will go to any length to do everything for the dirty energy industry including leveling another credible threat to hold funding the government hostage to, as the White House said, “protect the profits of big polluters.”

Republicans have revealed themselves to be criminals in their approach to governing, if one can call it that, since Americans elected an African American man to be President. It is important to remember that after congressional Republicans held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage for severe austerity that cost the nation its stellar credit rating, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell boasted that Republicans would revisit hostage taking again to get what they wanted and Republicans stayed true to McConnell’s threat. However, all they accomplished in shutting down the government unless the ACA was eliminated and America defaulted on its debt obligation was costing the American economy at least $24 billion according to financial ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.

Whether Republicans admit climate change is man-made or not, they cannot deny its effects on the economy and more importantly the American people. But they just could not care less because the primary driver of climate change, carbon emissions, is from the dirty energy industry they are Hell-bent on protecting at any cost; including using keeping the government open as a hostage. Republicans are worse than petulant children who just get angry when they do not get what they want, because as congressional representatives, when they get angry they resort to criminality and regardless what one calls their tactics, holding anything hostage, much less the government, to get what the dirty energy industry wants is criminal.

 

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