Have you noticed how mainstream media fills up a whole lot of airtime sounding off about our current do-nothing Congress? Just this morning, while driving in my car, I listened to yet another report on public radio about how the 113th Congress is on track to be the least productive in history.
There’s no disputing the pathetic public record of this current Congress. But have legislators actually been doing nothing? It looks to me like the media once again is taking the easy way out. If reporters and commentators would bother to look closer, maybe they’d see that congressional Republicans have been doing a whole lot of something.
And that something has cost taxpayers a bundle of change.
So let’s ask the obvious question: What have House Republicans been doing down there on the Potomac anyway? Well, for one thing they fought long and hard in court to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. You know, that was the act that was struck down by the Roberts court in a 5-4 decision. By the time they’d lost that battle, House Republicans managed to drain a tidy $2.3 million from the public coffers.
And how about the bogus blame game surrounding the tragic events at the American embassy in Benghazi? Republicans just can’t stop wasting time and treasure on whipping up trumped-up charges. Establishing the Select Committee on Benghazi to keep the finger pointing in the news already has cost $3.3 million. This year alone the House Benghazi panel is on track to send another $3 million down the hole. And the IRS has reported that it has spent more than $14 million in taxpayer money accommodating Republican requests, turning over more than 600,000 pages of documents.
Remember the debt-ceiling battle and the fiscal-cliff debacle? Please don’t tell me Americans have forgotten that bit of theatre. The Republican lie was that voting against raising the debt ceiling was the fiscally responsible thing to do and would strengthen the economy. Way to go, House Republicans. How did that work out for us? That nifty tactic, along with just the threat of a government shutdown, resulted in the first downgrade of America’s credit rating in history. And the price tag to taxpayers? Just a drop in the bucket, folks, at $1.3 billion. (And what, you may ask, does that chunk of change buy these days, anyway? How about some badly needed infrastructure repairs that would create a ton of jobs in the construction industry.)
And don’t forget the government shutdown itself—a tactic heralded by right-wingers as a godsend to the good old Republic. That idiocy pulled a cool $24 billion straight out of the coffers.
And let’s not overlook the fifty symbolic votes by Republicans in the House to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act—amendments House members knew would be doomed if ever they reached the floor of the Senate. So far, Republicans have squandered $79 billion on that fight. But who’s counting? Republicans are banking on the fact that we’re not paying attention to the price tag.
And just in time for the midterm elections, here comes another wasteful tactic from Speaker of the House Boehner and House Republicans. With all of the economic challenges facing the middle class, young people, the working poor, and the elderly here comes a meritless and wasteful lawsuit, suing President Obama for his legally sound executive action delaying a requirement for employers to provide health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
How much is that debacle going to cost? The perennially irresponsible John Boehner and House Republicans don’t have a clue or won’t tell us. And, if their behavior and official statements are any indication, they don’t care. It appears there isn’t a dirty tactic that Boehner and House Republicans can resist when it comes to sticking it to Obama, and they couldn’t care less that the taxpayer is picking up the bill. The trouble is that in their frenzy to sink the Obama presidency, they’re not just sticking it to Obama but sticking it to the rest of us as well.
Unfortunately, most of us are letting them get away with it because we’re too trusting, or too confused, or too tired, or too busy, or too poorly informed to figure out what’s going on.
So here we go again. Boehner and House Republicans are rolling out the lies. The fiction goes something like this: “This is for you, America. Trust us. We know what we’re doing.”
Really? Are we really going to believe them and hand them another term in office?