Friday, May 10, 2013

EPIC FAIL Full of Drama

Lately, we've been discussing the many battles in Congress over comprehensive immigration reform. However, that's not all Congress is up to. In fact, we may see more of this soon.

Calling last year's deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya the "most egregious cover-up in American history," Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) predicted Thursday that President Barack Obama will soon face calls of impeachment. [...]

Inhofe then said he's pleased that Benghazi has returned to the public consciousness.

“People may be starting to use the I-word before too long,” Inhofe later said.

When the host asked if he was referring to "impeachment," the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmed that he was.

But wait, there's more! There's also this.

Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee yesterday unexpectedly boycotted a vote to confirm Gina McCarthy, President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, denying the committee a quorum and preventing McCarthy from moving to a full confirmation vote. The move, announced Thursday morning, was unexpected. It made Democrats mad. It shouldn’t have been unexpected. [...]

But this is “dog bites man news,” and therefore not news. Senate Republicans are blocking the confirmation of an Obama appointee they admit is qualified and not personally offensive (she was a Romney appointee for chrissakes), because they want the EPA to not carry out its mission. They will abuse Senate procedure to get their way. The press is now so used to this that there will be essentially no outcry. Either they will pointlessly delay this for a while and then give in or they’ll just keep going until Obama pulls the nomination —the ball is in their court, even though they are the minority party in the Senate. They’ve gotten used to this sort of power, and, more important, the ability to wield it without incurring negative consequences. The press has processed GOP obstruction as normal and reports on it as such. Democrats make noise about reforming Senate rules and never actually do. This is how they’ve also kept the courts conservative and how they have almost succeeded in crippling the National Labor Relations Board. Cranky liberal bloggers call it nullification,and no one else cares.

Ah, but that's not all. There's even more. Check out this.

The notion that Congress needs a fallback plan in the event the debt limit is breached makes it seem as if the Full Faith and Credit Act is some kind of insurance policy in the event of an unexpected disaster. So let's be clear: Congress will know when the nation's debt limit will need to be increased; it will have plenty of warning; and if it does its duty and meets its obligations, there will be no need for such a ridiculous backup plan.

Indeed, there are three main angles to this. The first is that House Republicans should, if the conference weren't made up of petulant children, focus on preventing the crisis, not figuring out what should happen in the event of a self-inflicted wound. This is an easily avoidable crisis, but the House has invested several weeks working on a bill -- that won't become law -- on the contingency plan to describe what happens if Republicans allow the easily avoidable crisis to happen.

And then, of course, we have the piece de resistance. How could we ever forget this?!

Next week’s vote will mark the first vote on full Obamacare repeal so far this year. But it’s hardly the first ill-fated effort to repeal the law. The 112th Congress voted over 30 times to get rid of Obamacare, ultimately wasting about 88 hours and $50 million in taxpayer money in their efforts to deny health care to 30 million Americans.

It’s not exactly clear which aspect of the health reform law inspired Cantor’s assertion that it’s “getting worse.” There have been some recent claims that Obamacare’s implementation has been a “train wreck,” but those criticisms are largely overblown. In fact, the bulk of the health reform law’s provision have already taken effect, and have successfully improved coverage for millions of Americans. The rest of the Obama administration’s implementation efforts will focus on the 10 to 15 percent of Americans who remain uninsured, who will soon be able to gain health coverage through state-level insurance markets in 2014.

Partly thanks to the ongoing political battles over Obamacare, many Americans remain confused about whether it’s still law or whether Republicans have successfully been able to repeal it. Twelve percent of the population incorrectly believes Congress has already managed to dismantle the health reform law.

Oh, yes. That's right. The 21st Century Know Nothings who run the House and grind the Senate to a screeching halt have been quite busy lately. While they're threatening to impeach President Obama over wild conspiracy theories, they're also preventing him from filling his Cabinet or the federal judiciary. And if that's not bad enough, they also continue fighting to take away our health care. And on top of all that, they continue threatening global security by fighting efforts to act on climate change!

Congratulations, America. We're seeing bold, new accomplishments in EPIC FAIL in this 113th Congress! And it's all brought to us by the G-O-TEA.

Just this in and of itself is awful. However, what makes all of this counterproductive ideological grandstanding even worse is that it's absolutely hurting our economy. While Congress is mired in all this crap, it's failing to act on the real problem we face today: AUSTERITY.

Oof: “The nation's unemployment rate would probably be nearly a point lower, roughly 6.5 percent, and economic growth almost two points higher this year if Washington had not cut spending and raised taxes as it has since 2011, according to private-sector and government economists.”

That’s from Jackie Calmes and Jonathan Weisman. Because each month’s jobs numbers look about the same as the last month’s jobs numbers, it’s easy to get lulled into complacency, to assume that what we’re doing in Washington doesn’t much matter. But adding 208,000 jobs a month —which is our six-month average —isn’t good enough. At that pace of job growth, the Hamilton Project estimates we won’t be back to pre-recession unemployment till 2021.

As the economy strengthens– and it’s clearly strengthening —we need to see job growth accelerate. But Washington keeps putting hurdles in its way. In order to keep job growth steady, the economy has needed to strengthen enough to overcome the payroll tax hike, and the fiscal cliff tax hikes, and the various spending cuts, and the fears over the fiscal cliff and sequestration. The economy, amazingly, is keeping up. But imagine a world in which we didn’t raise taxes and cut spending over the past two years, but passed legislation to help the economy now and reduce the deficit by more as soon as unemployment fell to six percent.

They can't say we didn't warn them. Austerity indeed harms economic recovery. Yet instead of ending the failed austerity program, the usual G-O-TEA suspects are busy manufacturing even more artificial crises so they can worsen the real crises caused by austerity. How on earth does any of this make sense?!

I can't help but harken back to what Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Drama) said in Elko this past January.

“I am tired of the drama,” U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei told an audience in the Red Lion Inn & Casino. “I’m full up on drama. Drama doesn’t get anything done.”

Actually, Rep. Amodei, we're all tired of the endless drama on Capitol Hill. And we'd like to know why you, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Drama), and Senator Dean Heller (R-Drama) continue to participate in the "TEA" fueled drama. Go ahead and answer that.

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