Friday, October 1, 2010

John Boehner Wants Congressional Reform, Ignores Hypocrisy Surrounding Bush Tax Cuts

David Espo wrote for the Associated Press the following regarding Republican John Boehner's desire to reform congressional rules:
Jettisoning partisan campaign-season rhetoric, if only for a moment, House Republican leader John Boehner said Thursday that both parties bear the blame for "dysfunction in Congress" and urged lawmakers to adopt a cut-as-you-go-rule to curb their appetite for spending on new federal programs...

"The dysfunction in Congress is not new. Both parties bear the blame for it," Boehner said. "But the dysfunction has now reached a tipping point — a point at which none of us can credibly deny that it is having a negative impact on the people we serve."

He said the House had failed to pass a budget this year for the first time since 1974, and that not once in the current two-year Congress had lawmakers been permitted to offer unlimited amendments to legislation...

He also floated suggestions for limiting federal spending, including a requirement for lawmakers to offset any cost of establishing new programs — a proposal that appeared more aimed at holding the backing of conservatives who form the core of Republican support. Boehner spoke at the American Enterprise Institute, a Republican-oriented think tank.
I thought this was interesting for one big reason - Boehner discussed wanting to change rules to require Congress to come up with the funding before creating new programs as a way to limit federal spending, but what about his party's desire to extend the Bush tax cuts, which will cause serious shortfalls in government revenue.

I partially agree with the idea of "paygo," but believe the GOP is being hypocritical with their wanting to extend the tax cuts - I also believe they are trying to push the tax cuts as a way to de-fund current programs that they do not like.  I believe "paygo," as well as reform across the board - from entitlements to energy policy - could be used in a comprehensive plan to increase prosperity and fiscal responsibility.

In related news, Patrick O'Connor for Bloomberg News reports some "details" about the GOP's recent Pledge to strip the federal budget, in which O'Connor points out that the GOP has been extremely vague and non-committal in discussing what will get the axe (that is until after elections when they will clarify), but what they have addressed, the proposals they have offered may sound good to weary voters but in actuality do little to reduce the budget.

In addition to wanting to slash the budget by 21 percent, Republicans also refuse to negotiate any decreases in military spending or funds for seniors and veterans - a move designed to appease large voting blocs.

For example:
President Barack Obama has requested $73.4 billion for the Department of Education next year. That request includes $23 billion for Pell Grants to help low-income students afford college, a 32 percent increase from this year.

The money also funds special education programs, block grants to school districts and $2 billion in adult education.

A 21 percent cut across the board would take about $15 billion from education. A 21 percent cut in Pell Grants would take almost $5 billion from student tuition.

The Obama administration has asked Congress for $76.4 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services next year. Almost half that -- $32 billion -- is for the National Institutes of Health, which includes the National Cancer Institute and other research facilities.

A 21 percent cut at the National Institutes of Health would take about $6 billion from health research.
It appears as if Republicans wish to live in an America where the poor are still poor, and uneducated, and the sick are still sick, and getting sicker - all in the name of small government.  I question the GOP's pledge because they are essentially stripping any chance for America to have a competitive edge over other nations.  How will America compete if the workforce is ill, uneducated, and bankrupt?

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