The American people are asking ‘where are the jobs?’. We don’t have the jobs because of all of the uncertainty coming out of this administration and this Congress. But Congress has an opportunity this week to end some of the uncertainty by allowing the American people to know what the tax rates are going to be at the end of the year, and to adjourn without dealing with any of this means that, in their minds, the elections are more important than the jobs for the American people, and it’s just politics as usual.
They’ve got time to bring a comedian to Washington, D.C. but they don’t have time to eliminate the uncertainty by extending all of the current tax rates. I think that’s irresponsible.
– House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, Fox News Sunday, 9/26/2010
So do I, John. So do I.
Actually, I believe that there are a number of things wrong with what happened last week, not the least of which is that comedian Stephen Colbert’s appearance on Capitol Hill provided an all-too-convenient distraction for the Democrats, shielding American eyes away from the other testimony on Friday — that of Christopher Coates, former voting chief for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
Coates, as I noted here at America’s Right on Friday, testified in regards to the Justice Department’s unfathomable dismissal of voter intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party stemming from actions taken at a Philadelphia, PA polling station on Election Day in 2008. Coates stated that the Department of Justice–run, of course, by Attorney General Eric Holder, who in February 2009 accused Americans of being “cowards” when it comes to matters of race–cultivates a “hostile atmosphere” against “race-neutral enforcement” of the Voting Rights Act and echoes statements made by former Justice Department official J. Christian Adams, who said that the Department showed “hostility” toward cases that involved white victims and black defendants.
On Friday afternoon, a Google News search for “Christopher Coates Testimony” yielded eight results, while a search for “Stephen Colbert Testimony” yielded 222 results. Newspapers across the country, including the Post & Courier here in Charleston, featured stories on Colbert but not Coates. So, it’s a fair assessment to say that the distraction worked.
Nevertheless, distraction aside, I think it is perfectly fair for Congressman Boehner to mention that the Democrats seem to have time for a congressional dog-and-pony show but claim to have little or no time to debate over the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Friday’s Wall Street Journal went so far as to say that Congress “punted” on the issue. Take a look (emphasis mine):
With taxes a hot-button issue on the campaign trail, lawmakers threw in the towel Thursday until after the elections. Sen. Richard Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said, “The reality is, we are not going to pass what needs to be passed to change this, either in the Senate or in the House, before the election.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said Thursday the House wouldn’t schedule a vote on taxes if the Senate didn’t. Later, on Thursday evening, a House Democratic aide said a floor vote remained “possible,” adding that no decision had been made.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) said that the first part of next week would be taken up with debate over a bill seeking to limit the outsourcing of jobs. Then the Senate would turn to a bill to fund the government until after elections.
At this point, neither the House nor the Senate is expected to stay in session past next week.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada sought to blame Republicans in a statement Thursday evening that conceded there would be no vote before November. “Democrats believe we must permanently extend tax cuts for the middle class before they expire at the end of the year, and we will,” said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid. “Unfortunately, to this point, we have received no cooperation from Republicans to do so.…We will come back in November and stay in session as long as it takes to get this done.”
The fact is, the Democrats have more than enough time. Worried about elections in districts back home, Congress is already adjourning a week early. Furthermore, even if we do not take into account the time wasted on Stephen Colbert and his pointless testimony, certainly we could find some extra time somewhere, right?
Perhaps we should start with H.Res. 1546. Introduced by Washington State Democrat Congressman Jay Inslee back in July, this House Resolution, according to the GOP’s Legislative Digest, would resolve that the House of Representatives “[c]ongratulates the Washington Stealth for winning the National Lacrosse League Championship,” and “[r]ecognizes the achievements of the players, coaches, students, and support staff who were instrumental in the victory.”
Apparently, the debate and vote that was supposed to happen late last week was inexplicably delayed–by Stephen Colbert’s visit, perhaps?–and will be taken care of this week, allowing Congress to focus not on the largest tax increase in the history of our nation less than 100 days out but rather on the issues that really matter, such as the Washington Stealth’s May 15, 2010 victory over the Toronto Rock. Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz took his frustration to Twitter yesterday:
BIG important bill for this week H.Res. 1546 – Congrats the Washington Stealth for winning the National Lacrosse League Champ, Rep. Inslee
Hope I can get to the Floor to “debate” this critical piece of legislation the Dems are bringing to the Floor.
Don’t have time for a budget or to debate the tax bills, but they can spend 40 minutes debating the Washington Stealth…..amazing.
Also on the House schedule for the past week and this week:
- H.Res. 1479, introduced on June 25, 2010 by New Jersey Republican Leonard Lance, would resolve that the House of Representatives “[s]upports the work of the United States Paralympics,” “[c]ongratulates all of the United States Paralympics Team medal winners from the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia,” “[h]onors all of the Paralympic athletes for their contributions to the games,” and “[r]ecognizes the contributions of the athletes’ families, schools, and communities to the Paralympic Games, and the United States Team.
- H.Res. 2853, the All-American Flag Act, introduced on June 12, 2009 by Indiana Democrat Bruce Braley, would “require the federal government to only purchase American flags that are manufactured entirely in the U.S.,” “require that the purchase of domestically made U.S. flags for use by the federal government, regardless of size, must be 100 percent manufactured in the U.S., including articles, materials, or supplies of which are grown, produced, or manufactured in the U.S.,” and require that the government “purchase flags only from a manufacturer that certifies that the manufacturer does not employ aliens who are not authorized to be employed in the U.S.; and the manufacturer participates in the E-Verify Program.”
Note that the first item was introduced by a Republican. As much as I appreciate the work of the U.S. Paralympic Team, the little legislative celebrations need to end. We know that the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl. We know that the Philadelphia Phillies are going to win the World Series this year. Recognizing champions does not need to be an act of Congress — in fact, I don’t see it anywhere in Article I, Section 8. Heck, as much as I like the All-American Flag Act and what it means, and as much as I’d like to see that issue addressed, for crying out loud, let’s not address it AT A TIME WHEN AMERICANS ARE LOOKING AT THE LARGEST TAX INCREASE IN AMERICAN HISTORY.
In case folks weren’t around here at America’s Right on Friday, something from the Heritage Foundation made its way into Assigned Reading. It was a sobering look at what Americans will be facing should Congress fail to extend the Bush tax cuts. Here’s just part of it:
The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis has run simulations using their Individual Income Tax Model comparing current law with President Obama’s most recent budget proposal which includes: 1) higher taxes on individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000; 2) higher taxes on capital gains; 3) higher taxes on dividends; and 4) the return of the death tax. The CDA found that the Obama tax hikes would:
- Destroy an average of 693,000 jobs every year.
- Drain $726 billion from disposal income, $38 billion from personal savings, and $33 billion from business investments.
- Raise taxes on the 55% of all joint filers earning more than $250,000 who run small businesses that employ others.
- Cost the average non-farm small-business owner $3,500 more in taxes.
- Cost the 49% of all seniors with income below $250,000 $525 in additional dividend taxes.
- Cost the 25% all seniors with income below $250,000 $742 in higher taxes.
What Congressman Boehner and all of the Republicans he leads need to understand–and I do think they’re starting to get it–is that the American people aren’t just going about their business any more. We’re not as stupid and uninformed as Sen. John F. Kerry would like us to be. In fact, while Kerry insists that his party’s troubles in November will arise from “an electorate that doesn’t always pay attention,” I’d contend that it is just the opposite this time around, and that the level to which people like you and like me are indeed paying attention will spell disaster not only for John F. Kerry’s party, but for any Republicans who forget even for a moment who they work for.
John Boehner insists that Americans searching for an end to this uncertainty simply do not have time for comedians. I insist that we don’t have time for clowns, either.