Visual source: Newseum
Republican obstructionism isn’t anything new, but from the sheer breadth of their latest attempts to block good policy, it looks like President Obama’s new aggressive posture has sent the GOP into a fit that would make a two-year old proud. First, from the Star-Ledger Editorial Board:
Republicans aggressively fought the appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and came away with a big scalp: Warren herself, the architect of the new agency, stepped down as nominee and returned to Massachusetts to run for the U.S. Senate. With any luck, voters there will send her back to Washington to continue challenging those who would shield banks and big business at the expense of the American consumer.
You’d think, having ousted Warren, the Republicans would get down to the people’s business. Think again. Now, the Party of No is refusing to confirm President Obama’s new nominee, Richard Cordray, unless the agency is restructured — that is, essentially gutted of its powers to protect consumers. This has nothing to do with Cordray’s credentials — he’s the highly regarded former state attorney general of Ohio — and everything to do with the political gridlock that has enraged voters and engendered cynicism with government. And it lays waste to the lessons that were supposedly learned after the collapse of the mortgage industry and housing market in 2008, when consumer ignorance combined with banking’s predatory practices to create a disaster.[...] Without 60 votes, Democrats are stuck, ground down by gridlock from protecting consumers and the economy. In the end, it’s the American consumer who pays.
And more from the The Register-Guard:
Sen. Frank Lautenburg, D-N.J., opened a recent hearing on the future of U.S. passenger rail service by observing that the federal government last year spent more than $ 40 billion on highways — more than it has spent on Amtrak in its 40-year history.
A longtime champion of national rail service, Lautenburg denounced a Republican proposal to cut Amtrak’s operation by 60 percent and to privatize its high-traffic routes.
“It’s like cutting throats,” he said.
Republicans have been trying for years to cut Amtrak’s throat. [...] The GOP assault on Amtrak reflects the worst instincts of Republicans, who seem oblivious to its resurgent popularity. Amtrak is enjoying its sixth year of record ridership and expects to carry more than 30 million passengers this year. [...] Never mind that the United States is the only major industrialized nation with a substandard national rail system — and that European and Asian nations provide hefty rail subsidies and are far ahead of the United States in the development of high-speed rail.
And of course, what would brazen blocking of good policy be without the obligatory attack on one of the most successful domestic policy bills in a generation. From AFP:
WASHINGTON — Republicans in the House of Representatives unveiled a bill Thursday that would block funding for President Barack Obama’s health care reform as long as it is contested in the courts.
The measure targeting the health care reforms passed by Congress in 2010 was contained in a bill that would fund the Health and Human Services Department in 2012.
Besides barring funding next year for the health care reforms, it would eliminate 8.6 billion dollars in funds allocated for a variety of measures that are already underway.
Naturally, any “Party of No” net has to be wide enough to catch NPR in its sights. Brent Lang reports:
Once again, Republican members of Congress have their eyes firmly fixed on defunding National Public Radio (NPR).
The House Appropriations Committee has unveiled its latest budget proposal and among other things, it includes a provision to prohibit funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) from tricking down to NPR. It also requests a report from the CPB on how to wean NPR off of federal funds by fiscal year 2014.
The budget proposal, which also includes cuts to education grants, job training and heating subsidies, will likely face fierce opposition from Democrats and negotiations could drag on for months.
No wave of obstruction would be complete without attacking clean energy jobs.Ben Geman tells us how much the GOP really does love “job creators”:
House Republicans announced draft spending legislation Thursday that would block any fiscal year 2012 funding for the Labor Department’s Green Jobs Innovation Fund.
From the looks of the above, it appears the only thing Republicans really value is their own jobs. The New York Times explains why this election really is a “contest of values”:
Taxes, spending and jobs dominate the conversation in Washington, but there is a great deal more at stake in next year’s election, as Republicans know well. It sometimes seems as if they are the only ones who talk about their values, but they put forward an elitist and narrow vision that largely favors the upwardly mobile, the healthy, the native-born American and the needs of the corporation.
This cold message is disguised, of course, cloaked in warm-sounding talk of solid American traditions and values. Democrats, including President Obama, have shied away from these issues or have been too late and too weak in providing voters with an alternative vision, with their own larger goals for the nation.
In the last few days, however, Mr. Obama has finally begun to broaden his challenge to Republicans. He is taking on their obeisance to wealth and refusal to reanimate the economy, as well as their callousness. “This is a contest of values,” Mr. Obama said on Sunday. “This is a choice about who we are and what we stand for. And whoever wins this next election is going to set the template for this country for a long time to come.”