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January 25, 2013

The Incompetent Congress Gambles With Their Own Money For A Change


The American Flag and Capitol Dome  - the incompetent Congress

I know that I’m hard on the Republican led House of Representatives, and justifiably so. Their rhetoric can be downright scary, and their draconian ideas even more so.

The House is pretty incompetent as a legislative body, and most of that can be attributed to the GOP’s general intransigence.

With a record low approval rating, the Boehner brigade spent last weekend on a retreat away from Washington, DC. I don’t know whether anyone was drinking kool aid, but upon their return they announced that they wouldn’t hold the debt ceiling hostage --- for the time being. They agreed to extend the debt ceiling, and honor US financial commitments, through May. After that who knows.

Lisa Mascaro wrote about the GOP change of heart for the Los Angeles Times.

Stepping up their austerity campaign, House Republicans plan to demand far deeper spending cuts from President Obama to balance the federal budget in just 10 years, an extraordinary goal that would hit Medicare and other safety-net programs.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), confronted with a more conservative Republican majority, agreed to the dramatic initiative to coax reluctant rank-and-file lawmakers Wednesday to approve a temporary suspension of the $16.4-trillion debt limit without any cuts in spending.
The new proposal to balance the budget in a decade would zero out the federal deficit almost twice as fast as previous Republican efforts.
The US debt, and the budget deficit, are two separate entities. If Republicans are interested in forcing an austerity budget down the throats of the American people, the long term effects will be beyond disastrous. Look at the economies of the European Community right now, and their high unemployment rates, and stagnant economic growth, for evidence of what would happen to our economy. And It’s not good.

Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times described why House Republicans agreed to raising the debt ceiling.
“We know with certainty that a debt crisis is coming to America. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when,” Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republicans’ vice-presidential nominee last year and current Budget Committee chairman, said as he vowed to press ahead with deep spending cuts.
To give House Republicans a rationale for giving in on the debt ceiling after dropping demands for offsetting cuts, the House legislation included a provision that would withhold the pay of lawmakers in a chamber of Congress that fails to pass a budget blueprint by April 15.
That allowed House Republicans to turn a spotlight on Senate Democrats, who have not passed a detailed budget blueprint since 2009. 
“It took one week in which their paychecks were on the line, and now the Senate is going to step up and do the right thing,” Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, said after the vote.
So instead of terrorizing the US economy in the near term, they decided to hold their own salaries hostage, unless a compromise is reached. If this drags on for six months, they will still get their $175,000 salary, they will just have to wait to have it deposited in their bank account.

I’d much rather see members of Congress suffer for their transgressions, than you or me.

Let’s hope that they get to work on this, as it may be a lot of fun to watch.

Stay tuned.



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