Congressional Conservatives’ Legislation Blockade

February 10, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

In the preceding article “Progressive Policy for National Progress and Prosperity,” I emphasized on the need to intercept the Congress gridlock by electing the ‘Progressives,’ in the Democratic Party.

Following news articles reaffirm such recommendation.

1. Congress trying to have it both ways on spending

Lawmakers lament rising deficits but fight for pet projects

By Carl Hulse – New York Times – February 7, 2010 – Thank you.

Washington – While Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said he was all for slowing federal spending , he has no appetite for the substantial cuts in farm programs proposed in President Barack Obama’s new budget.

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo, issued a news release simultaneously lamenting the deficit spending outlined in the new budget and protesting cuts in Pentagon projects important to his state.

And Sen. Jeff Sessions, R- Ala., a fiscal conservative and a senior Republican on the Budget Committee, vowed to resist reductions in space program spending that would flow back home.

The positions of these Republicans – and similar stances by dozens of other lawmakers of both parties – are a telling illustration of why it is so hard to control federal spending.

Every federal program has a constituency, and even lawmakers who profess to be alarmed by rising deficits will go to the mat to preserve money that provides jobs and benefits to their constituents.

“I am not a hypocrite,” Sessions said in reconciling his fiscally conservative credentials with his outrage over the administration’s proposal to essentially end the human space flight program and allow private enterprise to take on some of the load – an approach that Republicans typically favor.

Sessions said money taken from NASA would not be saved but would instead be directed to other Obama administration priorities that he did not support.

Others said that the annual tableau in which members of Congress criticize the spread of red ink even as they reassure voters back home of protection for popular subsidies and Pentagon projects exposed the high degree of cynicism and lack of conviction that colors the fight over congressional spending.

“It shows that in Washington, you can be firm on your opinions; it is your principles you can be flexible on,” said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.

The Republican juggling act on spending comes after a legislative proposal for an independent commission to study ways to cut the deficit stalled in the Senate, partly because some Republicans who had originally backed the idea balked.

“There are not enough statesmen who will stand up and say, “Cut it even when it is in my district,” said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who has crusaded against spending by both parties on pet projects known as earmarks.

It is not only Republicans who are trying to have it both ways.

Conservative and moderate Democrats who have pushed against deficit spending also quickly protested the cuts in NASA, military and farm spending.

2. GOP hammers Obama over jobs

Republicans oppose giving leftover bailout money to small banks

By Phillip Elliott – Associated Press, February 7, 2010 – Thank you.

Republicans sparred with President Barack Obama in their Saturday media addresses over proposals to create jobs, further evidence of the difficulty of bipartisan solutions to the nation’s pressing problems.

Obama pushed Congress to use $30 billion that had been set aside to bail out Wall Street to start a new program that provides loans to small businesses, which the White House calls the engine for job growth.

Republicans, meanwhile, taunted Obama with a familiar refrain:

Where are the jobs the president promised in exchange for the billions of dollars already spent?

The barb came a day after the government reported an unexpected decline in the unemployment rate, from 10 percent to 9.7 percent.

It was the first drop in seven months but offered little consolation for the 8.4 million jobs that have vanished since the recessions began.

“Even though our economy is growing again, these are still tough times for America,” Obama said.

“Too many businesses are still shuttered. Too many families can’t make ends meet.

And while yesterday, we learned that the unemployment rate has dropped below 10 percent for the first time since summer, it is still unacceptably high – and too many Americans still can’t find work.”

To help the recovery, Obama asked Congress to use leftover money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, to provide to small banks so they can make more loans to small businesses.

Republicans have criticized the move, arguing any money left over from the bailout should be used to reduce the budget deficit.

In the weekly GOP address, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas chided Obama for proposing a 2011 budget last week that would increase spending, taxes and the national debt.

“Americans are still asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ but all they are getting from Washington is more spending, more taxes, more debt and more bailouts,” Hensarling said.

The Republicans attack came even as key Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are working on a bipartisan jobs bill.

The senators hope to unveil legislation as early as Monday.”


3. Obama seeks boost in business lending

Proposals draw fire from Democratic leader in House

By Christine Simmons and Marcy Gordon – Associated Press – February 6, 2010

Seeking to create more jobs, President Barack Obama on Friday asked Congress to temporarily expand two lending programs for the owners of small businesses.

But a Democratic House leader slammed the president’s proposals, saying they’re the wrong approach to creating jobs.

Obama said Friday he wants to bolster the impact of the businesses that are the chief creators of new jobs in a struggling economy.

Just hours before he spoke, the nation’s jobless rate finally dipped below 10 percent – to a stubborn high 9.7 percent – in the latest government figures.

The president said he wants businesses to be able to refinance their commercial real estate loans under the Small Business Administration and he wants that government agency to increase loans used for lines of credit and capital.

The truth is, the economy can be growing like gangbusters for years on end and it’s still not easy to run a small business,” Obama said as he visited a heating and air conditioning company in a Maryland suburb of the capital.

The White House said Obama’s plan would temporarily raise the cap on Small Business Administration Express loans from the current maximum of $350,000 to $1 million.

Obama’s plan would also expand the SBA’s program to support refinancing for owner-occupied commercial real-estate loans.

But even the Democratic head of a House committee wasn’t pleased about the plan to expand SBA lending.

Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, D-N.Y., chair of the House Small Business Committee, said the SBA Express program has been criticized for underwriting loans that banks would have made without government backing and for carrying the highest default rate of any SBA program.

“With loan defaults on the rise, we should not base our strategy on increasing the size of the least stable SBA lending program,” Velazquez said.

The initiative to refinance commercial real estate debt may dilute it and draw away too many resources, she said.

Food for Thought – By Padmini Arhant Feburary 10, 2010

It’s clear from the listed articles that, the priorities for the congressional conservatives’ on both sides are not the people i.e. the working class, the middle class and the small businesses.

If they were, they would not try to have it both ways as suggested in the article.

Evidently, the national interest is not the primary concern for the Congressional conservatives and moderates in both parties.

They are preoccupied in their faultfinding against President Barack Obama, instead of cooperating with the rest of the Congress in passing legislations especially,

The health care and health insurance reform where a staggering 46 million Americans are reportedly dying due to these lawmakers’ unwillingness to pass the much-required legislations to heal every American.

Notwithstanding, the credit crunch experienced by the small businesses from the ‘bailed out’ banks’ reluctance to facilitate lending.

Again the finance sector’s default in containing the worsening real estate crisis in both residential and commercial markets calls for immediate action through finance reform – conveniently rejected by the conservatives’ and moderates on both sides.

These legislators positioning them to be ‘fiscal conservatives’ and rebuking President Obama on the rising national debt that, they are contributing with their ambitious pet projects over the ‘average’ American plight, speaks volume on their lack of commitment to the people electing them to the office.

With respect to President Obama’s strategy on SBA lending to the small businesses, the Democrat House Committee response is irrational and confirms the legislator’s ‘out-of-touch’ with reality.

The President’s justification on this issue is right on target.

Since the bailed out finance sector is back in the game with “business as usual,” motto and focused on self-promotion with multi-million dollar bonuses culminated by their Washington representatives’ successful blocking of the finance reform,

The President’s proposal is the only viable option to stimulate the job growth in the most desperate segment of the economy – the small business.

Besides, in the absence of the banking industry long overdue lending activity, the investment risks in the small business is blown out of proportion compared to the risk exposure in the multi-trillion dollar bailouts to the banks still withholding credit to their creditors-cum-taxpayers and consequently restraining the economic recovery.

Time is running out for the conservatives on both sides in correlation with patience among the suffering millions in the economy.

If the Republican members are counting on their rebellious attitude towards the democrat President and the Congress to win elections in November 2010,

They are in for a serious disappointment for the American electorate would not reward the party with a victory in the face of their deteriorating economic conditions resulting from the Republican members’ blockade.

Somehow, if this were to happen, then it would be at the democracy’s peril.

Perhaps, it’s something, the American electorate ought to think about because they are responsible for the stalemate in Washington.

Having elected the ideological representatives for whom the people seem irrelevant – transparent in their obstinacy on legislative matter, the people are the ones who can undo the wrongdoing by voting the redundant representations out of power this November or even sooner.

Democracy is held hostage by the recalcitrant congress members defying the constitutional responsibility to serve the people and the nation as an elected official.

Washington hue shines through in these issues.

How can any President possibly achieve anything in such a hostile environment?

You decide.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


One Response to “Congressional Conservatives’ Legislation Blockade”

  1. weblink on January 4th, 2015 3:15 am


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