As 2010 winds down, the bipartisanship that prevailed over the “just say no” Republican obstructionism in the closing days of the lame duck Congress is about to come to a screeching halt, and the next congress will start out with Republicans working to undo the progress in a new round of obstructionism they call repeal and replace.
Incoming speaker of the House John Boehner has said, “If we actually want to help our economy get back on track and begin creating jobs, we need to end the job-killing spending binge.” The Republicans’ plan, according to their “Pledge to America,” is to roll back most spending to levels of two to three years ago when George W Bush was president. Apparently, Boehner doesn’t remember that it was Bush’s Republican policies that put the economy in the ditch in the first place; the Pledge to America is a continuation of Bush-era policies.
The Republicans plan to cut spending with weekly votes on specific cuts with “common sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops.” The Pledge to America’s proponents claim they will save a minimum of $100 billion in the first year. Unfortunately, the plan is short on specifics, but the country can count on Republicans making cuts to social programs that will not create any jobs. Although there would be substantial savings by cutting defense spending, the plan will most likely increase the defense budget as it is the natural inclination of Republicans to spend more on bombs and bullets than maintaining safety nets for many Americans.
Boehner and the Republicans have not proffered any concrete ideas for creating jobs, but if the past year is any indication, they will continue their love affair with big business by giving perks to corporations that outsource American jobs. When the Democrats and President Obama tried to pass legislation that would remove tax incentives for corporations that sent Americans’ jobs overseas, the Republicans blocked it claiming it imposed unfair taxes and regulations on businesses that created jobs. With Republicans in control of the House, Americans can expect more legislation to give breaks to corporations at the expense of Americans’ jobs.
The other big item that Republicans plan on starting work on in the new Congress is repealing the Affordable Health Care act. In fact, the Republicans are calling it repeal and replace although there are no plans for how they will repeal the law when they only control one third of the government. Any legislation they pass in the House will most certainly not pass the Democratic controlled Senate, and certainly will not get past President Obama’s veto pen. The wisdom of repealing an existing law just to replace it doesn’t make any sense, but then again, most of the Republican game plan doesn’t make sense except to undo Democrat’s and President Obama’s progress. Many of the items in the Pledge to America to do with health care are the same as the current plan leaving one to wonder why Republicans are going to waste time and resources repealing a law just to replace it with the same law.
Mitch McConnell has said time and time again that the Republicans’ goal is to prevent President Obama from winning a second term in 2012, but the American people are sick of the partisanship that has produced nothing significant from Republicans in Congress. John Boehner has categorically stated that he rejects compromise so there can be nothing accomplished unless Democrats and President Obama become Republicans and rubberstamp the corporatization of the American government.
After the tax cut compromise President Obama worked out with Republicans, many on the right balked and still refused to work with Democrats on the repeal of DADT, ratifying the New START treaty, and the Dream Act clearly demonstrating they have no intention of bipartisanship. When the 112th congress begins in January, it is unclear how the Republicans in the House will accomplish anything by attempting to repeal the health care law because the Senate will not go along and President Obama will not sign a law ending an epic program that will help millions of uninsured Americans and save taxpayer dollars.
The prescient question is; will the 112th Congress accomplish anything without compromise? It is difficult to foretell the future, but it doesn’t look promising for the American people who desperately want their leaders to work together to create jobs and keep the economy going in the right direction. President Obama has shown his willingness to make compromises to achieve what is best for the American people, but Republicans have to know that he has his limitations and will not roll over to give control of the government to the Republicans and their corporate masters.
Based on the Republicans’ Pledge to America, there are no plans to create jobs and no plans to reduce the deficit. They will offer legislation to destroy social programs and cut spending for education and health care while increasing tax breaks for corporations; none of which will create one job. Republicans’ stated goal of no compromise for the sole purpose of making the Obama Administration ineffective will result in gridlock, and unless the Republican majority in the House reaches out to Democrats in the spirit of bipartisanship and compromise, the 112th Congress may go down as the most useless in recent memory. If the past two years are any indication, it is very likely that the incoming Congress will be just that; ineffective and useless much like the Republicans have been since January 2009.