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Republicans Show “Bad Faith” on Funding Bill

25 September 2011 7 Comments
Gone (The Tea Party song)

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The Republicans are up to their old tricks again, and it looks like the American people are facing the implications of yet another government shutdown at the end of next week.  For those Americans who were hoping this divisive issue was settled last Summer, when Congress finally came to an agreement at the eleventh hour to raise the debt limit ceiling, it looks like their faith in a Congress that actually works “for the people” will be again shattered.  House Speaker John Boehner’s funding bill failed to pass muster in the House due to receiving minimal Democratic support, and (of course) the expected rejection by the Republican’s Tea Party element.  Although this  certainly amounts to an embarrassing defeat for Boehner, more importantly it gives a clear signal that the Republicans are looking for a way to back out of the funding agreement made with the Democrats only a few short months ago.  In a strange twist of fate, Speaker Boehner finds himself in a position where Democratic votes will be needed to overcome the intransigence of the Republican right wing (i.e. Tea Party) if he wants to get anything done.

The crux of the problem lies in the Tea Party’s reluctance to live up to their agreement last August to set spending for the year at the $1.043 trillion level.  In the ultimate act of bad faith, many of the Republicans in the House are claiming that the spending limit was only a “guideline”, and represented the worst case scenario.  In other words, they have no intention of approving anywhere near the agreed-upon sum without  demanding cutbacks elsewhere in the budget.  In the most recent case, conservative Republicans voted against the funding bill NOT because it demanded further budget cutbacks, but because the cutbacks were deemed to be insufficient.  The heart of the matter was a proposed  increase of  $3.65 billion in disaster relief funding for FEMA, which was contingent upon a $1.5 billion cut to a government program that lends money to automakers to encourage the production of energy-efficient cars.  All but six Democrats in the House refused to accept the Republican’s “quid pro quo”.

The unexpected struggle in the U.S. House, with Democrats and  Republicans battling over the passage of something as simple as a funding bill to keep the U.S. Government running clearly illustrates the Republican Party‘s steadfast intentions to reduce the size of government by starving it of much-needed resources.  It further illustrates the Republican Party’s willingness to inflict whatever pain and suffering on the country that is necessary to impose their will.   All Americans should be totally outraged by the underhanded maneuvering undertaken by Speaker Boehner and the Republicans to renege on promises made to the American people last August.  Unfortunately, another Congressional showdown is on the horizon for next week.  This time, the Democrats will  hold their ground (hopefully), and force Boehner to back off on further program cuts.



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