Monday, January 2, 2012

112th Congress Year-One: An Epic Failure

November 2010's midterm elections gave the Republican Party control of the House of Representatives and sent John Boehner straight to the top of the party, by handing him the Speaker's gavel. Boehner came to power and immediately proclaimed the Republican win, a mandate from the American People. Boehner stated the following:
“I think that it’s a mandate for Washington to reduce the size of government and continue our fight for smaller, less costly and more accountable government.”
In preparation for the the election, then Minority Leader Boehner famously asked President Obama, "Where are the Jobs Mr. President?" So with the mandate talk and an early expressed interest in the employment prospects of the American People, one would think that the Republican Party would have come into office and saved the day - PUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BACK TO WORK!!!! We already know how this story ended, an epic failure.

Everyone should know by now that I love to take trips down memory lane. I think it's very important that we take these trips down memory lane, it forces us to remember things that politicians are hoping that we forget. Especially considering that this year is an election year, I think it's key that we examine speeches like the speech that Leader Boehner delivered below.

"The people’s priorities will be our priorities. The people’s agenda will be our agenda. This is our Pledge to America, this is our pledge to you!"

What A Successful 112th Congress Year-One Would Have Looked Like:

Unity and communications are key and over the last couple of years prior to the Tea Party, the Republican Party proved that they are masters of both, giving them a leg up on the Democrats. The American People, through their votes in November 2010, delivered a mandate and the Republican Party was chosen to answer the calls of all issues and concerns.

  • On day one, Speaker Boehner should have galvanized his caucus and passed a comprehensive Jobs Act, one very similar to what President Obama proposed in early September. They would have beaten the President to the punch and at his own game.
  • Save all ideological fights for a later time. It makes no sense to pick these ideological fights when your party only controls one chamber.
  • Negotiate internally with the Tea-Party Caucus and help them to understand the bigger picture at hand - control of all three bodies, the House, Senate and White House.
  • On normal procedures, such as the debt-ceiling increase, renewal of tax cuts, and appropriation bills, pass clean bills and prepare to unload the ramifications on the Democratic Party in 2012.
  • Avoid passing useless legislation that doesn't have direct impact on the people. (ex. H.CON.RES.13"In God We Trust")
  • Collectively reprimand national Republican figures who attempted to negatively impact the collective bargaining rights of public workers. Even better form an alliance with those figures early on and tell them to hold off. These issues are much better resolved through federal legislation.
  • Make common sense decisions like funding FEMA for earthquakes and wildfires and leave the debt debate out of those decisions.
Starting the session with just two or three of these suggestions would have put the Republican Party ahead of the Democratic Party. There would be a more believable opportunity for the Democrats to be painted as the party of "big spending" liberals. Instead the Republicans allowed President Obama and his party to set them up for failure. The Republicans took the bait each time and fell into the Obama/Democratic set traps. So now, what would have been an easy walk in the park to 2012 for one side, is now on schedule to be a knock down dragged out fight - all because Speaker Boehner failed as a leader. Instead of success, the Republican controlled house decided to pick meaningless fights and introduce legislation that made absolutely no sense. Effectively the Republicans could have taken the Democratic blue print set by Nancy Pelosi and the last Congress, made a few tweaks, passed it as their own and taken all of the credit for the positive impact.

My Favorite Pieces of Legislation Introduced by the US House of Representatives in the First 100 Days of the 112th Congress

H.R. 1 - Latest Title: Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 / Sponsor: Rep Rogers, Harold [KY-5] (introduced 2/11/2011)
H.R. 2 - Latest Title: Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act / Sponsor: Rep Cantor, Eric [VA-7] (introduced 1/5/2011)
H.R. 3 - Latest Title: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act / Sponsor: Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] (introduced 1/20/2011)
H.R. 4 - Latest Title: Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011 / Sponsor: Rep Lungren, Daniel E. [CA-3] (introduced 1/12/2011)
H.R. 5 - Latest Title: Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011 / Sponsor: Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11] (introduced 1/24/2011)
H.R. 10 - Latest Title: Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011 / Sponsor: Rep Davis, Geoff [KY-4] (introduced 1/20/2011)
H.R. 11 - Latest Title: Build America Bonds to Create Jobs Now Act of 2011 / Sponsor: Rep Connolly, Gerald E. "Gerry" [VA-11] (introduced 2/10/2011)
H.R. 12 - Latest Title: American Jobs Act of 2011 / Sponsor: Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] (by request) (introduced 9/21/2011)

Was Year-One of the 112th Congress a success or failure?
What do you expect from the Republican controlled House in 2012?
Will John Boehner retain his Speakership?

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