Republicans have given us a sneak peek of what they have in store for America if they succeed in taking over Congress on Election Day … and it’s not pretty.
On Tuesday, Republican senators voted in lockstep to block the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the DREAM Act… just yesterday, they voted in unity to block the DISCLOSE Act for the second time. Corporate special interests are drowning out the voices of regular voters by dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into this year’s elections, and every single Republican voted to block a bill that would add some basic fairness by simply requiring disclosure of who is behind political ads. Every. Single. Republican.
The unprecedented obstruction just does not stop. President Obama’s judicial nominees have been held up endlessly. In some cases, they’ve needed to be re-nominated and have multiple Judiciary Committee votes despite being approved by the Committee the first time. Some of these nominees even passed in Committee unanimously, with no Republican opposition, but the "Party of No" has been intent on blocking even the most uncontroversial nominees from the Senate floor. Meanwhile, there are vacancies on the federal courts — 11 seats of the 23 pending on the nominations calendar — that have been declared "judicial emergencies" by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Our judicial system is hurting and so is Americans’ access to justice.
It’s not just the Senate. Yesterday, the House passed legislation to help small businesses, but only because of the Democratic majority — just like with the DISCLOSE Act in the Senate, every single Republican voted "no." This vote came on the very same day that the GOP House Leadership released its "Pledge to America" — in the rollout, Minority Leader Boehner and his cohorts mentioned "small businesses" no fewer than 18 times. The hypocrisy is simply staggering.
In both the Senate and the House, Republicans have consistently opposed tax relief for small businesses and the middle class, justifying their obstruction with phony, hypocritical arguments about spending. Republicans have tried to block extensions of unemployment benefits and aid for homeowners to prevent foreclosures, and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is even blocking a food safety bill that passed in the House with bipartisan support last summer and has overwhelming support from consumer groups. Meanwhile, Republicans are pushing to add billions, if not trillions, to the deficit by extending the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2%.
The Republicans have a clear agenda: to serve corporate special interests. They want to take back Congress but it’s their policies that sunk our economy in the first place — policies that encourage the outsourcing of jobs, allow Wall Street greed to go unchecked and punish middle and working-class families. They pretend to be on the side of small businesses because it’s politically expedient, but even as they complain that letting the Bush income tax cuts expire for the top 2% hurts small business, the facts tell a different story as more than 98% of tax filers with small business income are not in that top 2% of the income tax. The Republican definition of "small business" is a mega corporation like Bechtel or PricewaterhouseCoopers. The only part of America to which they will ever make good on any "pledge" is Corporate America… and they’ll do that at any cost. Perhaps that’s why the GOP staffer who headed up the development of the "Pledge to America" was, up until April, a lobbyist for some of the most powerful oil, insurance and pharmaceutical and other corporate interests in the country — including Exxon, AIG, Pfizer and the Chamber of Commerce.
So let’s recap. Just this week, Republicans have proven their disdain for soldiers, students, the hurting middle class and even food consumers… Is there anyone they haven’t left hung out to dry? Oh yeah… corporate special interests.
We can not put these people in charge again.
UPDATE: Add women to the groups of people Republican senators have hung out to dry just during the last weeks of September.