Unhappy holidays to the millions who are being screwed by Boehner, et al
The Republican Caucus in the US House of Representatives has left the nation’s capitol without allowing an up-or-down vote on the deal brokered in the Senate that would extend the payroll tax cut — and extended Unemployment benefits — for two months.
Speaker John Boehner says he wants the extension to be for a year, even though he originally thought the deal was good for Americans.
So, what’s the deal? I would guess he’s afraid of a challenge to his leadership from the Tea Party Caucus. Lord knows Eric Cantor would love more power.
Meanwhile, though, this unhappy holiday gift from the Tea Party will piss off a lot of Americans who can’t afford to take another hit. We don’t see the logic in letting the wealth trickle up when so many Americans are desperately trying to stay in their homes.
This is good news for Preident Obama, who has tried his best to work with the GOP and has been thwarted at every turn. He gave up the public option in health care. He gave up on raising taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. He gave up on closing corporate tax loopholes. He gave up on preserving Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Now he has stopped caving in. Or at least I hope he has stopped.
His reaction to the latest Boehner tactic is to walk away. Fine, John, have it your way. Be an obstructionist. The American people know who stopped this deal. Let’s see how it pays off come Election Day. I’m sure those 3 million people who are counting on their unemployment benefits to pay their bills and buy groceries will admire your tenacity as they face foreclosure on their homes.
As Boehner walked out of the House chamber, Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Democrat, shouted at him to return and do what’s right for the American people. Boehner ignored him.
According to an article in today’s New York Times, the average length of unemployment is 41 weerks — the longest average in 60 years. Taking benefits away from people isn’t the way to “offer incentive to return to work,” as conservatives like to say. I’ve seen people looking for work — people who were laid off from $40,000-a-year jobs and been forced to take part-time work at $8 an hour and hope it becomes full-time.
I know people who are living on half the income they had a year or two ago, or less, because so many of the decent jobs have been shipped overseas and they can’t find anything better than an $8-an-hour part-time job.
Meanwhile, Eric Cantor is salivating in the wings. He has backed Boehner into as corner and now he can challenge him for the leadership. The only problem is that I don’t think Cantor has the votes. Actually, that’s not a problem for me.
Leslie Boyd, a former newspaper reporter, is president of the health care advocacy nonprofit, WNC Health Advocates, founded in memory of her son, who died in 2008 because he couldn't access health care. E-mail her at leslie at lettersfromtheleft dot com or follow her on Twitter @leftyletters1, visit Letters from the Left on Facebook. For more information about WNC Health Advocates or to read Boyd's health care blog, visit wncha.org.