Tag Archive: speaker of the house


The Republicans have the largest majority in generations, and they are fighting amongst themselves like cats and dogs. The Tea Party contingent wants to shut down the government, shut down the IRS, and repeal every initiative that was implemented by the Democrats for the last six years. This makes no sense because Republicans now have the power in both houses, and they want to teach President Obama a lesson.

All around the globe there is war and terrorists, and the Republicans have backed themselves into a corner by threatening to shutdown the Department of Homeland Security by withholding funding. Many Republicans thought by taking an extreme position, they would have leverage to stop the president’s executive orders on immigration.

But President Obama and the Democrats knew that all they had to do is wait because there are only 54 Republicans in the Senate, and they need 60 votes to put House bills on the Senate floor. Therefore, the House can vote on any crazy measure they can think of, but the Senate Democrats can filibuster the bill, and the bill will go nowhere. If Congress does not pass a DHS spending bill, the agency will partially shut down, and potentially furlough 30,000 employees.

The Democrats and the president want a clean bill with no riders stripping away the president’s immigration actions. Even though the Republicans have all this new numbers power, they have no agreed-upon strategy or comprehensive agenda. They are still trying to figure out what they are going to do next, and at this point, they are not getting much done.

The Republicans have only gotten two bills to become law since they swept into office with the 2014 election. One bill was a leftover from last year that funds a terrorist insurance program, and the other a non-controversial bill to address mental health problems among veterans. In 2007, when the Democrats had control of both houses, in two months they had seven bills signed by the president and made into laws.

At this point, there is too much infighting with the Republicans, and President Obama is waiting to veto any bill that does not make sense from his point of view. President of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has worked out a bill that would allow funding until the end of the fiscal year for DHS. This is the beginning of compromise in the Senate, and this is good for the country.

The bill has passed the Senate, and now everyone is waiting for the House to make a decision on a bill to keep DHS open. On Friday, February 27th, Speaker of the House, John Boehner is not able to get a bill passed by the House because there is too much fighting in his party. The Senate passes a different bill to keep the DHS open for one week, and three hours before the Department is getting ready to shut down, a bipartisan bill is passed by the House.

Fighting and pointing fingers gets nothing accomplished in the House, and collaboration and compromise is essential to the democratic process. Both parties must respect each other’s point of view because they need each other to get bills passed in the House. In the final analysis, each party must give up something to get some of what they want.

“There’re terrorist attacks all over the world, and we’re talking about closing down Homeland Security. This is like living in the world of the crazy people,” tweeted Rep. Peter King of New York, a former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

Advertisements

Senate Leader Harry Reid

In Washington, there is political theatrics controlling the Congress, and every politician wants to be on the news. Everyone is playing games and they know that they are not doing their job. The President ran on a platform of change and the expectation level in the country was incredible.

America was ready for fundamental changes in Washington, and President Obama initially was a politician that progressive citizens could believe. He started his term with a majority of Democrats in the Senate and the Congress, and he got passed over 60 bills. He was able to get the Healthcare Reform Bill passed that other presidents had tried but failed.

President Obama’s polls approval rating initially was in the high sixties into low seventies. Minority communities’ approval rating for the president was in the nineties. But as the euphoric honeymoon began to dissipate into reality, we found many of the problems with the Obama administration were the same as other administrations.

The political fights between the Republicans and the Democrats were the same, but in President Obama’s administration they were a little meaner and nastier. With the emergence of the Tea Party, a new ideology was initiated that wanted a smaller federal government and were extremely conservative.

President Obama and the Democratic Party underestimated the influence and the political clout of

Tea Party

 the power of the Tea party movement. It is a loosely organized nationalized movement, which is the mobilized radical arm of the Republican Party. They are dissatisfied with the direction the country is going and they are angry.

With the country $14 trillion in debt, and every state treasury in debt, the Tea Party is correct when they say the Congress needs to balance its books and control spending. The problem with the Tea Party is they want to go backward as opposed to forward. Much of their ideology is based on state’s rights, American supremacy, and the good old-boy’s system.

Nevertheless, without a doubt the Tea Party members are a major impediment, and they make it harder to get the federal budget passed. They are a divisive force, and with the election of 2010, the new 85 Republican House members are connected to the Tea Party.

But all the blame for not getting the 2010 budget passed can be blamed on the Republicans and the Tea Party. When the Democrats had a majority in both Houses, they still could not get the budget passed. Somewhere there appears to be a problem with leadership, or planning in the party. If the Speaker of the House and the leader of the Senate are both Democrats, they should be able to agree on a budget, and get it passed.

This week the government shutdown was averted with a late night deal right before the deadline. Even though the shutdown was avoided this fight was over peanuts, because the debate over the 2011 budget will soon start. With a divided Congress, who doesn’t like each other, there will probably be a major fight within the parties, and against each party.

John Boehner, Speaker of the House and Harry Reid, Senator Leader met President Obama four times in one week to finally come up with a deal. John Boehner says, “The president is not leading. He didn’t lead on last year’s budget, and he clearly is not leading on this year’s budget.”

President Obama meets with his aides

At times President Obama is not engaged and he leaves certain projects and initiatives in the hands of his administrators. It appears the president’s strategy is to remain behind the scenes and let his aides do the negotiating. No longer can the president let his aides do the negotiating.

The president must be engaged from the very beginning and be the leader of his team. Our government needs the president to get vocal, get serious, and demand results.             
112th Congress

The 2011 Congress stands at D.C.

 

As the 111th Congress and Senate finishes its session before it recesses for the holiday season, the Republicans are drawing a line in the sand. They have developed a strategy and agenda that is based on the philosophy of cutting spending, not raising taxes, and stopping all earmarks.

Everyone in the country is well aware that the 112th Congress and Senate session is the beginning of the conservatives taking back influential leadership positions in many major committees. The Democrats will only have the majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives can stop major bills from being passed, because the two parties are on different sides of the fence.

The Republicans are determined to initiate their vision of a smaller federal bureaucracy while cutting spending, and repealing the new healthcare bill. The 42 Senators in the 111th Congress have been circulating a statement that says, “We are not- we are going to block every piece of legislation that comes our way unless it’s related to tax cuts or government spending.” The gridlock of this week may be a sign of things to come next year.

The Republicans are adamant about expanding all of Bush’s tax cuts and are refusing to give an inch on their position. This week President Obama had a summit at the White House with leaders of the Democrats and the Republicans to create a “spirit of cooperation.” This was the first time since the Democratic beating in the election that there was a bipartisan meeting.

President Obama admits that there are “real philosophical differences” between the two parties and this is why there are Democrats and Republicans. While the summit was going on, the Republican leaders were agreeing to work together, and the other members were passing around a statement to block Democratic legislation.

President Obama and his administration are well aware that this past election is the beginning of a new dialogue with the Republicans. Getting bills passed in the next session of Congress will be very difficult and diplomatic negotiations will be the key. During the 111th Congress, the Democrats had the majority in both houses and it was easy for the Democrats to railroad their agenda through without much resistance from the Republicans.

The Republicans will takeover as John Boehner becomes the Speaker of the House, and the numbers will be 242 Republicans to 192 Democrats. With this major shift in the dynamics of the House of Representatives, the Obama Administration will no longer have the numbers to get their bills passed.

The new Speaker of the House

The Republicans are now in a position to be a spoiler and create gridlock in the legislative process. In order to get anything done in Congress, the two sides will have to compromise and talk to each other.

The tax cuts are slated to conclude at the end of the year, and the Republicans want a two-year extension on all tax cuts. This is a top priority for the Republicans in the Senate, and they are holding firm on their position. This is the beginging of a stalemate in the Senate, and there is a possibility that this gridlock will continue during the 112th Congress.

OMB Budget Director Jack Lew

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

President Obama has appointed Jack Lew, the OMB Budget Director, and Tim Geithner, Treasury Secretary to sit down with members of the House and Senate to find common ground and ensure middle-class Americans taxes don’t go up.

On the other hand, the Republicans want an extension on tax cuts for everyone.

The Democrats no longer have a majority in both houses and there is now a level playing field. The next couple of weeks are an indicator of the chess match that will be going on in Congress. Maybe our representatives will find some common ground and eliminate a total gridlock and stalemate.

Check out Roger’s blog at http://www.presidentobamawatch.blogspot.com