This is the second update to a column I wrote in April of this year and updated in July. It will also be the last because nothing has changed. Nothing is likely to change and the thought of revisiting the “nothingness” of Congress is depressing.
The italics reflect the previous columns while the updates are in regular type:
April. During the 2014 congressional campaigns the Republicans told us that if we would give them a working majority in both Houses of Congress, they would stop Mr. Obama from unilaterally striking a deal with Iran and releasing the economic and trade sanctions previously imposed against Iran and the ayatollahs. We gave the Republicans a landslide victory in both houses of Congress and the result to date has been NOTHING.
July. Mr. Obama has now struck the deal with Iran that Republicans said they would stop. They have also acceded to a deal with Mr. Obama that any review of the Iran agreement by Congress must garner sufficient votes to override his promised veto – a nearly impossible chore. In the meantime, Mr. Obama has outflanked them again by presenting the deal to the United Nations which has accepted it and, thereby, nullified the ability of allied sanctions being re-imposed.
The House of Representatives rejected the agreement that Mr. Obama negotiated. The Senate, with Republicans in control, could not muster sufficient votes to invoke closure and move to a final vote. Not only did the Republicans fail to stop the agreement, they failed so miserably that the Senate Democrats were not even required to record a vote in favor of this ill-conceived agreement. There were any number of methods that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could have used to force the vote, including but not limited to the so-called “nuclear option” – an appropriate response given the seriousness of the matter. His loyalty to the traditions of the Senate are misplaced and contradict the will of the people. (Note to the good people of Kentucky, you need a new senator.) In other words, the Republicans failed by doing precisely NOTHING.
Meanwhile, the ink was hardly dry on the agreement when Iran violated it by test launching a new long range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. As usual, Mr. Obama and his State Department shrugged their shoulders and did nothing. And congressional Republicans howled and did precisely NOTHING.
April. During the 2014 congressional campaigns the Republicans told us that if we would give them a working majority in both Houses of Congress, they would stop Mr. Obama from unilaterally granting amnesty from deportation to more than 5 Million illegal immigrants currently in America. We gave the Republicans a landslide victory in both houses of Congress and the result to date has been NOTHING.
July. To date the Republicans have done nothing in hopes that a federal court of appeals decision questioning the validity of Mr. Obama’s executive order is sustained after hearing and appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The Republicans have thus far failed to enact measures that would mandate construction of barriers at our southern border and/or reform our immigration system.
The Republican candidates who are running for president continue to talk big about stopping the influx of illegal immigrants and securing our borders but, to date, they have failed to draft, introduce and enact a bill and put it on Mr. Obama’s desk. To date the Republicans have done precisely NOTHING.
April. During the 2014 congressional campaigns the Republicans told us that if we would give them a working majority in both Houses of Congress, they would repeal and replace Obamacare. We gave the Republicans a landslide victory in both houses of Congress and the result to date has been NOTHING.
July. The Republicans, like children pressed against the window of the candy store, hoped that the United States Supreme Court would strike down Obamacare and thus save them the tough work of repealing and replacing it. When the Supreme Court failed – again – to do Congress’s work for them, the Republicans have sat silent with no alternative in sight.
Here there may be a light. The Hill on Friday reported that the House used the budget reconciliation process to make major changes to Obamacare:
“The House voted along party lines on Friday to approve a budget reconciliation bill that would repeal parts of ObamaCare and halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
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“The bill would knock down key pillars of the president’s healthcare law, including the individual and employer mandates and the so-called Cadillac tax and the medical device tax. It would also halt funding to Planned Parenthood for one year.”
But don’t hold your breath. The Senate under the leadership of Mr. McConnell is not likely to pass the bill. As The Hill reported:
“But the bill’s fate is in question in the Senate.
“Three Senate conservatives, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), have vowed to oppose the bill, accusing party leaders of abandoning their promise to fully repeal ObamaCare.
“And with three other Republican senators voicing concerns about defunding Planned Parenthood, the opposition from some on the party’s right flank has the potential to sink the legislation.”
Nothing ever changes. As it stands right now, the Republicans have done absolutely NOTHING. Mr. McConnell’s track record indicates that he will do nothing unless he is assured of unanimity in his caucus.
April. During the 2014 congressional campaigns the Republicans told us that if we would give them a working majority in both Houses of Congress, they would enact meaningful tax reform. We gave the Republicans a landslide victory in both houses of Congress and the result to date has been NOTHING.
July. No tax reform has been offered or enacted. There are preliminary discussions going on to trade highway funding for tax treatment on foreign investments. Nothing has been done to address the high rates for domestic business or the complexities for average citizens. To date there has been a lot of big talk from Republican presidential candidates but nothing of substance from the Republican Congress.
Nothing has changed. No comprehensive tax reform has been proposed, drafted or filed by the Republicans. While there may be isolated tax reform plans by members of Congress, none have sufficient support from leadership to move through the committee structure and on to the floor. They have done precisely NOTHING.
April. The Republican majorities have failed at every turn to block the unilateral assumption and exercise of power by Mr. Obama. In fact, the only meaningful thing that the Republican majorities in Congress have accomplished is to add to an all too long of list of Republicans who believe they are qualified to be President. (Given that Mr. Obama has established the low mark for qualification one must conclude that all of these Republicans are “qualified” but few are capable.)
July. Recent polls indicate that the favorability rating of Republicans has fallen dramatically since the 2014 election. You need look no farther than the lack of progress on their promises for the reason.
The Republicans failures in Congress are so universal that Republican presidential candidates – at least those that are not members of Congress – have taken to publicly criticizing them for doing precisely NOTHING.
Even the one positive thing that the Republican led Congress has achieved – a studiously non-partisan special committee to investigate the events leading up to and following the Benghazi attack – has been submarined by Mr. McCarthy who as usual engaged his mouth before his brain. Mr. McCarthy in a convoluted response to a question by FOX News’ Sean Hannity inferred that the select committee was responsible for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s declining poll numbers. As a result of his stupidity Mr. McCarthy has been forced to withdraw from the race to succeed Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) but that’s not good enough. Mr. McCarthy should follow Mr. Boehner out the door and resign from Congress. It now appears that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will succeed Mr. Boehner as speaker. If Mr. McCarthy doesn’t have the grace to resign from Congress – as he should – at the very least he should be replaced as Majority Leader and confined to committee assignments that do no more than oversee the Post Office.
Governor Bobby Jindahl (R-LA) has gone so far as to suggest that unless the Republican led Congress begins to act on its promises that we bag the whole bunch and start over. I have posited the idea that a new party populated by disaffected conservatives, small businessmen and women, skilled labor (including trade unions) and immigrants still in pursuit of the American dream would make a powerful political body and from their ranks would come Representatives and Senators far superior to the elites who now run Congress.
For now, I pledge to not support a single incumbent congressional Republican during the primary season – not one.