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Mar 30 2012

Governing By Crisis

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

While everyone has been focused on the Supreme Court hearings over the constitutionality of the individual mandate of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act and the tragic murder of a black teenage boy in Florida by a “gun toting vigilante”, the Republican held House of Representatives has been up to its usual shenanigans threatening not only to shut down any infrastructure construction but now planning to shut down the government entirely. Even though they have vowed to defeat the current resident of the Oval Office, knowing they have a “friend”, the Republicans continue to make themselves more unpopular with the majority of their own constituents. This is what they have been up to while the traditional media focused on SCOTUS and a possible racially motivated murder:

The House voted down the proposed White House budget by a vote of 0 – 414. I suppose one could call that “bipartisan.” Nust up was the annual ritual of the Black Caucus Budget which failed but at least managed to garner 107 votes. Then they rejected the “Bowles-Simpson” Budget proposal, which really wasn’t, giving it only 38 votes.

Thus they finally came to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, which is a revision of his budget that was passed last year and soundly rejected by both sides of the aisle in the Senate. The current bill passed with a partisan vote of 228-191. All but 10 Republicans voted against the bill mostly because it didn’t cut enough. The bill has no chance of passing the Senate but its passage reignites the same issues of cutting taxes for the rich on the backs of those who can least afford it:

He again proposes tax cuts for the rich at the expense of seniors, the disabled, and children. He would cut taxes by roughly $3 trillion $4.6 trillion (according to a Tax Policy Center analysis just put out), with most of the tax cuts going to people earning more than $200,000. His proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and food assistance would all fall heavily on seniors, the disabled, and children. Ryan’s budget is doubly bad for children because his proposed cuts to public investments (mostly infrastructure and education) would cause children to inherit a country with crumbling roads and bridges and to enter the labor market with fewer skills.

It would also cut non-defense discretionary spending to lows not seen in the 50’s but raise the defense budget that the Pentagon says it doesn’t need:

Because it doles out trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the rich and corporations, the budget approved by House Republicans today – authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) – would increase deficits and drive up the national debt. In fact, under the plan, “deficits would never drop below 4.4 percent of GDP, and would rise to more than 5 percent of GDP by 2022.”

Those increases would come despite the gigantic spending cuts that Ryan has in mind, which would eviscerate the social safety net and non-defense discretionary spending (even while the budget increases defense spending). As the Economic Policy Institute noted today, the plan Republicans adopted would drive discretionary spending down to its lowest level in more than 50 years.

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The House also refused to pass the very bipartisan Senate Transportation bill managing only to pass a stop gap 90 day bill to fund current transportation and construction projects:

Despite several efforts to advance a bipartisan Senate bill championed by (Sen. Barbara) Boxer, House leaders opted for a three-month extension while they try to break a deadlock that has stalled their own proposal to fund transportation by expanding offshore oil drilling.

The extension leaves transportation financing in an increasingly precarious position.

This won’t win them any votes in the Fall

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