Whew, that's a tough slate of heavy lifting there!
President Obama went to Youngstown, OH earlier this week and said the GOP approach to the nation's problems is "do nothing." But when you look at the past six weeks, the "do nothing" party in Congress is clearly the president's own party. As a new analysis by the Office of the Republican Leader illustrates, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has done literally nothing lately.
Another week has passed without House Democrats releasing a budget. Another week of failing what House Majority Leader Hoyer once called "the most basic responsibility of governing." So what have Democrats been doing instead? What great issues has the House of Representatives grappled with instead of trying to save taxpayers money? Not much.
Generally speaking, there are two types of bills that pass the House: "suspension" bills and "rule" bills. "Suspension" bills must pass with a two-thirds vote, and are generally non-controversial, like re-naming post offices or congratulating sports teams. They're often considered "filler" for the House floor. By contrast, "rule" bills, generally speaking, are real legislation. And for the past three weeks, the House hasn't passed a single "rule" bill.
Remember that Democrats have complete control over the House floor. Under the rules they adopted, the Speaker decides whether to schedule a bill for floor action, or pull it without a vote. Over the past six weeks, the Speaker has decided to:
- Not pass a Budget.
- Schedule and then pull a "tax extenders after" because of disagreements among House Democrats.
- Schedule and then pull a bill on voting rights for the District of Columbia.
- Schedule and then pull the "COMPETES" Science Committee bill after a Republican motion to lower spending and improve the bill passed.
- Passed a Resources bill after a Republican motion completely changed the bill to strip new programs and lower the costs.
- Cancelled votes altogether on three days when they were scheduled: April 16, April 23, and May 21.
- Considered 131 suspension bills.
- Debated 2 bills under a Rule which passed with more than a 2/3 margin (meaning they could have been suspension bills).
- Pass one real bill requiring Puerto Rico to conduct a non-binding plebiscite on statehood.
What other vital legislation have Washington Democrats moved through the House since Speaker Pelosi broke the back of her caucus in order to pass ObamaCare? Here's a chronicle of what the House has done during the past six weeks, as compiled by the Office of the Republican Leader:
- H.Res. 1041 - Congratulating and commending the University of Idaho's football team for winning the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho (Rep. Minnick - Ed & Labor)
- H.Res. 197 - To commend the American Sail Training Association for its advancement of character building under sail and for its advancement of international goodwill (Rep. Kennedy - Transportation and Infrastructure)
- H.Con.Res. 255 - Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and honoring the founder of Earth Day, the late Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin (Rep. Obey - OGR)
- H.Res. 1131 - Expressing support for designation of the week of April 18, 2010, through April 23, 2010, as National Assistant Principals Week (Rep. Fudge - Ed & Labor)
- H.Con.Res. 247 - Authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby (Rep. Hoyer - T&I)
But seriously, what's going on? It's not hard to figure out...they're trying to climb back up the cliff through inaction:
There's a silver lining to all this doing of nothing, though. As long as the Dems are talking football and post offices, they're not passing new pieces of massive, unread, forged-in-secret, nation-altering bills. No, that's what the Senate is doing right now.
Instead of addressing the staggering deficits and debt Democrats are running up in Washington - $714 billion in deficit spending in the first half of fiscal year 2010 alone - Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer are trying to shield their Members from taking any more "tough votes" during an election year. Or as one Washington newspaper put it, "without much else on the House agenda, they simply don't have any good excuses not to do a budget beyond cowardice."
Economists say that Washington needs to cut spending now to create jobs, but Democrats aren't listening. Out-of-touch Washington Democrats may think that by skipping the budget process this year, they can avoid the tough choices that come with governing - but they can't hide from our nation's problems, especially when their job-killing agenda is making things worse.
I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that all House Reps are up for re-election every two years, and thus their constituencies are very much remembering all of the massive, unread, forged-in-secret, nation-altering bills they've already rammed through over the strenuous and clear objections of the American people. Maybe they should start packing up their offices, too.
There's my two cents.