It is interesting to watch people knock President Obama for the economy after watching the last 3.5 years. Most people do not really pay attention to what is going on with Congress; the average person tends to really start paying attention as the election draws nearer but they do not understand how the obstruction works behind the scenes.
So – people will blame the economy on the President but can you think of any bill that went to the President’s desk that he vetoed that had anything to do with jobs? No. Not one.
Now – he made it clear that he wouldn’t pass any future bills that included further tax breaks for the rich or forced the XL Keystone Pipeline through since the plan has yet to undergo proper environmental impact evaluations. Separate from those two issues – President Obama has been willing to play ball on just about everything but Republicans have even expressed an unwillingness to pass tax cuts for the middle class on multiple occasions. Their bottom line is simple: hobble the American economic recovery to convince voters that President Obama has failed.
As we have shared HERE – the Republican party plan was to block and be against EVERYTHING the President proposed:
Biden says that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any cooperation on many votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators, who said, `Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ he recalls. His informants said McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was: `For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’” Biden says.
The vice president says he hasn’t even told Obama who his sources were, but Bob Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania both confirmed they had conversations with Biden along these lines.
This chart below comes from Ezra Klein; it shows the number of laws passed under Congress by year. Ezra notes that the “Do Nothing Congress” of 1947 did a lot more than this current Congress HERE:
Conservatives like to say that Obama had the majorities he needed in order to pass his agenda and that agenda failed. Well – actually no … that’s not even close to being correct. For about the first 9 months – Democrats had 56 Senators waiting on Al Franken to “officially” win since Republicans were trying to slow down his ability to becoming Senator by challenging the votes in Minnesota in a very, very tight election. There were 2 independents – Bernie Sanders and Joseph Lieberman – who caucused with the Democrats as well. That’s 58. Once Franken got in … that was 59. Then Arlen Specter changed parties from being a Republican to a Democrat and that made 60. That lasted 6 weeks. Then Teddy Kennedy died and there was a new election in Massachusetts which the Republicans won.
So – for 6 weeks … the Democratic party had a filibuster proof majority if you include two independents and several very conservative Senators like Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Jim Webb etc. Republicans abused a Senate rule called the filibuster that forced the Democrats to come up with 60 votes in the Senate to allow the Senate to vote on a bill. Every Republican voted against allowing debate to conclude thus blocking legislation even on issues that eventually passed with significant margins. The Republican plan was to hobble the economy.
In fact – in Obama’s first year in office … Republicans in the Senate used it a record 112 times to block legislation from passing. That is 18% of all of the votes in the Senate according to McClatchy (source). Obama’s 2nd year in office was the 2nd highest number in history with 91 filibusters by the Republican party only exceeded by Obama’s first year in office. So – no … the administration wasn’t able to do everything it wanted … not even close.
I’ve shared this before HERE – Republicans have been blocking jobs bills one after the other:
June 24th, 2010: GOP Blocks Unemployment Insurance Bill Once Again, Dems Giving Up (Open Congress)
July 29th, 2010: Republicans block small business plan in Senate (Reuters)
September 28th, 2010: GOP Blocks Bill to Punish Companies that Move Jobs Abroad (CBS News)
November 18th, 2010: House GOP blocks bill to extend jobless benefits (USA TODAY)
November 18th, 2010: Republicans vote unanimously against equal pay for women bill (Raw Story)
December 9th, 2010: Senate Republicans block 9/11 health bill (Reuters)
October 11th, 2011: Senate Republicans block Obama’s jobs package (CBS News)
October 20th, 2011: Senate blocks money for teachers, firefighters (WaPost)
November 3rd, 2011: Republicans block $60bn infrastructure bill (Financial Times)
December 11th, 2011: Senate blocks payroll tax-cut extension (MSNBC)
March 29th, 2012: Republicans Block Repeal of Oil-Company Tax Breaks Obama Sought (Business Week)
April 17th, 2012: Senate GOP blocks Obama’s ‘Buffett rule’ for minimum tax rate on millionaires (Fox News)
May 8th, 2012: GOP blocks Senate debate on Dem student loan bill (Associated Press)
Even Mitt Romney’s former adviser admits the Republicans are “rooting against the economy”. (source)
CBS talks more about the gridlock HERE:
So far, Congress has passed into law just 151 bills during this session — 90 in 2011 and 61 in 2012. The only other year since 1947 in which Congress failed to pass at least 125 bills was 1995, USA Today reports after reviewing congressional records. This Congress is even set to beat the notorious “do nothing” Congress of 1948.
The gridlock may be disappointing, but it is not surprising. It was largely predicted after Republicans took control of the House in the 2010 election with the Tea Party directive to halt the Democratic agenda. With Republicans in control of the House and Democrats still in charge of the Senate — and compromise out of fashion — the prospect of getting much done was bleak.
President Obama recently had an interview with the Associated Press where he said that Republicans are likely to change their tactics in an Obama 2nd term HERE:
Obama also offered a glimpse of how he would govern in a second term of divided government, insisting rosily that the forces of the election would help break Washington’s stalemate. He said he would be willing to make a range of compromises with Republicans, confident there are some who would rather make deals than remain part of “one of the least productive Congresses in American history.”
And despite all of that obstruction – under President Obama … the country has gained over 4 million private sector jobs since January of 2010. That’s a fact. We’ve written about that HERE.
And unlike the month President Obama took over where the country lost over 800k jobs a month and 2.2 million jobs the first 3 months President Obama took over – the country is growing the private sector. The banking industry was very fragile and on the cusp of implosion; the American auto industry almost went completely bankrupt. The country had two huge wars and a $1 trillion deficit. We are on MUCH better footing.
And all Republicans are proposing to fix the current situation is George W. Bush’s policies on steroids. Will Americans buy that?
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