America's new Congress came out of the gate swinging. At all of us.
This week the 114th Congress went to work so ferociously that I’ve been given the proverbial whiplash. The stories out of the media mirror the Republican obstructionist plans to discredit President Obama. But most importantly, the bills proposed would hurt many, if not all, of us. And they didn’t even start working until Tuesday!
The first thing I heard was that Louis “America is being infiltrated by terror babies” Ghomert -(R) from Texas was going to try and take John Boehner’s job as Speaker of the House. He managed to get three votes, one of them his own. So, naturally he told Sean Hannity of Fox News that “he had enough votes, but people changed their mind at the last minute.”
Gohmert is known for his outrageous comments and ideas, discriminating against nearly everything but white men. He loves him some guns and Jesus, too! It’s difficult to fathom that Gohmert has been elected five times. Gotta love Texas!
After that was sorted, the first order of business was to ban abortion after 20 weeks across the board even when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. This is in direct violation of the protections cited in Roe v. Wade. The committee, by the way, is made up of all men.
The next order of business for the House of Representatives was to gut Social Security benefits for retirees and disabled people by 20% starting next year. This came as a shock to many, as Social Security is a trust fund that employees and employers have been paying into. The federal government has no authority to borrow from this fund to pay for various expenditures, including wars. However they’ve been doing just that since Reagan was in charge, and they don’t want to pay it back.
The Keystone XL Pipeline was another bill that passed the House. The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that eminent domain can go forward in Nebraska. You can read the Nebraska ruling here. This means that landowners will literally have their land purchased by the government for purposes of the pipeline. It would run through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. President Obama has stated on more than one occasion that he will veto the bill if it passes the Senate.
Another bill that passed the House was to raise the full time requirement for employer mandated health insurance to 40 hours a week. Right now the Affordable Care Act mandates employers to provide health insurance to employees working a minimum of 30 hours a week. This would gut the ACA, causing millions to lose their health plans, and, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this change would add $46 billion to the budget deficit. President Obama again said that he would veto this if it reaches his desk.
Another bill that was voted on but did not pass was the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act. This combined 11 different bills, aimed at weakening Dodd-Frank, into one big messed up package. This would have weakened the Volcker Rule; weakened derivative provisions; and undermine investor protections. There were 35 Democrats who voted for the bill, but thankfully, it did not get the two thirds threshold needed to pass. Only one Republican voted against it.
On Friday, the House of Representatives introduced legislation on President Obama’s Executive Order on immigration including doing away with the DREAM Act. The way in which they plan to go about this is to deprive Homeland Security of the funds needed to process the applications for Immigration Reform. Homeland Security funding that will run out at the end of February anyway. Way to go!
After terrorist attacks in France this week and with Republicans crying about the War on Terror for years, this one made my head spin. It goes against all of their rhetoric about “protecting America” just to deny underprivileged people the chance at a good life in the USA. Not only is this cruel, but it is hard to conceive that any Republican candidate will win the 2016 Presidential election without the Hispanic vote.
Lastly, Mitch McConnell tried to take credit for the economic recovery and low unemployment rate. He tried to say that it was because Republicans won both the House and the Senate. What he actually did was praise President Obama without realizing it. Cursory research reveals blatant hypocrisy on the part of The Man Called Turtle.
It seems that the House of Representatives is throwing everything they can at the President as fast as they can. They’re taking a quick recess, and then they’re going to come back at all of us. Hard.
This is going to be a wild ride. Hang on to your hat.