Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Less Isn't More

This morning, we cut past the BS and looked at the reality behind the "Obamacare SCANDAL!!!" hype. Surprise, surprise, there's really "no there there". And what's making matters even worse is that Congressional Republican "leaders" are using this as an excuse to ditch basic governance in a last ditch effort to score more political points going into the 2014 Election Cycle.

Don't believe us? Believe the Republicans boasting of their own record of failure!

“I ran on a government that did less,” said Representative Reid Ribble, Republican of Wisconsin. “I felt the government was overreaching, and the citizens that sent me didn’t want me to be overaggressive in writing new laws. The Affordable Care Act launch is actually demonstrating the ineptitude of the federal government in handling these big programs.”

The 113th Congress has passed all of 55 laws so far this year, seven fewer at this point than the 112th Congress — the least productive Congress ever. House and Senate negotiators will meet on Wednesday to try to come to terms on a farm bill, but they remain far apart, especially on food-stamp cuts that the House is demanding. The leaders of the House and Senate budget committees will also meet this week, and they appear to be closing in on a modest deal that would set spending levels for the next two years while relieving some of the pain from the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. [...]

“Republicans are using their political attacks on the Affordable Care Act as cover to do nothing else,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

Comprehensive immigration reform (CIR)? Oh, no. They can't do that. It's too "big and complicated" for one bill (despite the fact that the Senate passed one in June).

Farm bill? Oh, no. They can't do that. They'd rather let American consumers suffer unnecessary higher food prices than let the working poor eat.

ENDA? Oh, no. They can't do that. They still refuse to accept that LGBTQ Americans exist, let alone contribute to the American Economy.

Ending the nonsensical austerity regime that's only served as a solution (or more accurately, a problem) looking for a problem? Oh... Maybe?! Capitol Hill is buzzing today over talk of a possible budget deal. While it still wouldn't completely end the austerity madness that's gripped Capitol Hill (and hurt the rest of the nation), it would ease the pain a little. And frankly, even this represents major progress for this Congress.

So is it possible that the 113th Congress can finally pass a longer term budget and drop the austerity laced crack pipe? Perhaps, but let's not get our hopes too high. After all, we're still talking about the 113th Congress, the Congress that's now on track to beat the record of "Least Productive Session of Congress Ever" (set by the 112th Congress last year). And as Salon's Joan Walsh reminds us, Congressional Republican "leaders" will face intense pressure from their 21st Century Know Nothing base to put up a(nother) fight rather than compromise over anything. They'd rather force America into a Shutdown S**tfest Sequel than admit defeat.

So this is what we're facing as 2013 comes to a close. Time and time again, Republican "leaders" have chosen cheap and crass political games over real governance. It's why major policy goals, such as CIR & ENDA, are about to be left unmet. And it's why we doubt this Congress can even "succeed" at such basic tasks as passing longer term budgets.

After all, some Republican politicians are now bragging about their vision of "government that does less". Why would they want to abandon that vision to allow for a government that actually functions properly?

So much for that old saying, "Less is more"...

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