There really isn’t any other word. Congressional Republicans are simply appalling. They have absolute control of the House. They set the agenda. They decide what comes to the floor. They decide what passes on to the Senate.
They know that extreme legislation isn’t going to be enacted into law. The Democratic majority in the Senate and the Democratic president stand in the way. So the legislation they choose to pass is a statement of their own values. It is simply designed to proclaim, “This is where we stand.” And for the vast majority of Americans, what they proudly proclaim is simply beyond the pale.
Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editor and publisher of the Nation magazine, vanden Heuvel writes a weekly column for The Post.
Ann Telnaes animation: The GOP alienates more women.
Republicans just passed a farm bill. It lards out $195 billion in subsidies for agribusiness. At the same time, they chose to drop food stamps — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — from the bill for the first time in 40 years. In this time of mass unemployment, 47 million Americans rely on food stamps. Nearly one-half are children under 18; nearly 10 percent are impoverished seniors. The recipients are largely white, female and young. The Republican caucus has decided to drop them from the bill as “extraneous,” without having separate legislation to sustain them. Who would want to advertise these cruel values?
Republicans in the House passed a 2014 budget guideline. They know the Senate won’t accept it. They refuse even to enter into negotiations with the Senate to find a compromise.
What does their bill do? It would deprive millions of health care with deep cuts in Medicaid and, of course, the repeal of Obamacare. It not only continues the mindless and damaging sequester cuts, but it exacts them all from domestic services – education, environmental protection, clean water, food and drug testing, head start, infant nutrition – while exempting the Pentagon.
The Pentagon is the largest source of waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. The White House is ending wars. Troops are coming home. Why in the world should the Pentagon — still investing in Cold War weapons that are simply relics in the modern world — be exempt from deficit reduction? Who would defend these priorities?
It gets worse. The Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform. The compromise bill earned rare bipartisan support, its provisions made much harsher to meet conservative objections. There’s likely a majority that would vote to pass that reform in the House. But the Republican caucus demands that no legislation reach the floor without the support of a majority of the Republican caucus. And, at this point, a majority of House Republicans rail against reform. They are considering passing piecemeal laws to arm the border, spend billions on more walls, and provide for more guest workers for agribusiness to exploit, while simply ignoring the 11 million people living in the shadows.
Congress has passed inadequate legislation to try to curb the excesses of Wall Street. But Republicans in both houses are now pushing to weaken, delay and gut even these changes (in return for growing campaign contributions from the financial sector). What voters stand with Wall Street over homeowners?