The House of Representatives has a theme, “the people’s priorities.” Which, as with “religious freedom,” means the opposite of what it says. So when Speaker of the House John Boehner says, as he did yesterday, “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in Congress so far,” you know what follows is bad for the middle class, for workers, and for the poor.
Boehner touts “GOP progress on the people’s priorities.” He says this means spending cuts and protecting us from permanent tax increases, but what this really means is that he is proud to have supported so much legislation that helps rich people and corporations:
Like the House vote this past April to eliminate the federal estate tax. You know, because it helps all of us if rich people have a greater percentage of the nation’s wealth. We love that!
Like the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act (H.R. 1599) passed just this past week, which, as Treehugger.com explains, “overturns state-level laws that require foods containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, to be labeled.”
Yay for the People’s Priorities! We love being victimized to benefit huge corporations who want to poison us for their own enrichment, yes we do!
Enough facts. Let’s watch Boehner spin his web of lies yesterday, courtesy of Speaker.gov:
Let me start by saying that I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in Congress so far this year. We’ve achieved the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades, which will save taxpayers some $2.9 trillion over the long term. We passed the first 10-year House-Senate balanced budget plan since 2001. And, we’ve enacted new tools to fight human trafficking, new resources to improve veterans’ care, and a plan to advance free trade and promote more American jobs.
I’m also proud of what we’ve accomplished as a Republican majority. We’ve cut spending by more than $2.1 trillion – the most significant spending reductions in modern history, and more than what we saw under the Reagan & O’Neill arrangement back in the 80s. We protected 99 percent of Americans from a permanent increase in their taxes. We’ve enacted three pro-growth free trade agreements. We’ve enacted job training reform, student loan reform, VA reform, Medicare reform. All over just the last four and a half years. We’ve stopped the transfer of terrorist detainees into the U.S. We’ve banned earmarks and have the most open legislative process that we’ve seen in modern time. We passed the most pro-life legislation in history. And we’ve done all this with a Democrat in the White House.
As an example of mendacity, Boehner’s words are almost without parallel, despite his tacit admission that the House has failed to create a single job – again. Add to that about a million votes to repeal Obamacare, at least as many Benghazi and Hillary email investigations, the House’s complete inability to defeat Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, or to even begin to address immigration reform. Well, you can see why they would be proud.
Boehner claims “VA reform” as an accomplishment, but President Obama was forced to veto a House bill in March – H.R. 2029 – that would have cut benefits to 70,000 veterans. This isn’t reform by any stretch of the imagination.
Worse, as reported here at the time, this measure was just the latest in a long line of anti-veteran legislation from Republicans:
“In 2012, House Republicans tried to cut benefits while privatizing healthcare. In 2013, House Republicans tried to cut food assistance for 170,000 vets and their families. In 2014, Senate Republicans blocked a veterans’ benefits bill.”
The sole Republican accomplishment where veterans are concerned is successfully politicizing problems at the Veterans Administration. Hold your heads up high, Republicans.
And Medicare reform? Just this past May, “Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) busted Republicans for trying to elimate competition in a Medicare program to raise prices on consumers to benefit corporations.” In layman’s terms, as Sarah Jones put it, “to screw with Medicare to benefit corporations.” Republican Medicare reform revolves around killing or privatizing Medicare, pure and simple. Actual reform is the last thing on their minds. Like the “freedom” part of religious freedom.
I’m not sure how the GOP’s alleged “pro-life” stance can be termed an accomplishment, since it comes at the expense of women’s reproductive rights – the right of women to keep their healthcare between themselves, their families, and their doctors.
This alleged pro-life stance is anything but, as it allows women to die to keep fetuses alive Republicans are willing to let die after they are born. All because they claim the Bible says a bunch of stuff it doesn’t say, while a bunch of stuff it does actually say – about the poor and the rich – is ignored because it violates Republican ideology and pisses off their corporate owners.
You have to give the House credit where it is due – the House version of the human trafficking bill, unlike the Senate’s – did not contain divisive anti-abortion language to expand the Hyde Amendment. And unlike the Senate version, it passed easily.
The best laugh is the last laugh. It is funny to hear Boehner claim they’ve “done all this” with a Democrat in the White House, given that not only this House, but the previous House, has done its level best to oppose, reject, and nullify President Obama’s every word and deed.
If there is any legislative body in this land unable to brag about its accomplishments, it is John Boehner’s House of Representatives, which has become a byword for incompetence in a Congress that began 2014 with a 13 percent approval rating.
As Gallup reported in January 2014, “Congressional approval has rarely been 20% or higher in the last three years.” Boehner is part of the reason for those low ratings, as the polling demonstrates: “Nearly twice as many Americans disapprove (53%) as approve (28%) of the job Boehner is doing,” reported Gallup.
In other words, Boehner and the House have accomplished nothing on behalf of the people, and in fact, have left us worse off than before, and America knows it.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.