Posts Tagged Ohio

Welfare Queen Walmart Has Thanksgiving Food Drive for its Own Needy Employees « naked capitalism


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2013

Welfare Queen Walmart Has Thanksgiving Food Drive for its Own Needy Employees

 

Prima facie evidence of the need to boycott Walmart (as if more were necessary). From ThinkProgress (hat tip Catherine C):

walmart-555x416

A Walmart in northeast Ohio is holding a holiday canned food drive — for its own underpaid employees. “Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner,” a sign reads in the employee lounge of a Canton-area Walmart…

The company has long been plagued by charges that it doesn’t pay its employees a real living wage. In fact, Walmart’s President and CEO, Bill Simon, recently estimated that the majority of its one million associates make less than $25,000 per year, just above the federal poverty line of $23,550 for a family of four…

Walmart’s low wages come at a public cost. Because low-income workers still need housing and health care, taxpayers end up doling out millions in benefits to bridge the gap faced by many of the store’s retail workers. They have also led to strikes at Walmart stores from Seattle to Chicago to Los Angeles in recent weeks.

So what’s next, a soup kitchen for Walmart staffers? That would be wonderfully efficient too. Get them in for some homeless-shelter quality Thanksgiving fare at 4:00 PM and they’ll be ready to open at 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving when Black Friday sales start. (If you’ve ever been involved in food prep and service at this sort of establishment, you’ll find it’s often not terribly tasty, on the probably correct assumption that hungry people won’t notice. In fairness, the cooks typically buy cheap ingredients to stretch limited budgets and many who are used to working with better materials don’t know how to compensate).

And readers may recall that another proof that Scrooge walks among us is that food stamps allotments to 47 million Americans were cut by roughly 5% two weeks ago.

And this comes against a backdrop of more evidence of widespread distress. For instance, Real News Network reported earlier this week that Census data showed that the the number of poor people was 3 million higher than previously estimated.

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The most striking element of this report are that Wicks-Lim of PERI points out that the new data increase the proportion of workers that are below the poverty line from 7% to 10%. She also argues that the official measure of poverty is far too desperate, and up to two times the official poverty line is a more realistic measure of “poor”. That means 34% of Americans, including pretty much all front line Walmart workers.

Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/11/welfare-queen-walmart-has-thanksgiving-food-drive-for-its-own-needy-employees.html#pydzuc1udWVHPjYf.99

Welfare Queen Walmart Has Thanksgiving Food Drive for its Own Needy Employees « naked capitalism.

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At 11th Hour, G.O.P. Blinks in Standoff – NYTimes.com


At 11th Hour, G.O.P. Blinks in Standoff

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio,  emerged from a meeting with Republican House members on Thursday.

By JONATHAN WEISMAN and JENNIFER STEINHAUER

Published: October 16, 2013

 

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republican leaders conceded defeat Wednesday in their budget fight with President Obama over the new health care law, agreeing to support a reopening of the government and a lifting of the nation’s borrowing authority in exchange for future budget negotiations.

Speaker John A. Boehner, the leader of conservative House Republicans whose push to strip money for the health law led to the shuttering of much of the government on Oct. 1, said that the House would not block a bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate that yielded virtually no concessions to the Republicans.

“The fight will continue,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement. “But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us.”

The decision came about 24 hours before the Treasury was due to exhaust its borrowing authority, putting the nation on the brink of a default. Mr. Boehner had earlier told colleagues privately that he would not allow the nation to default.

Under the agreement, the government would be funded through Jan. 15, and the debt ceiling would be raised until Feb. 7. The Senate will take up a separate motion to instruct House and Senate negotiators to reach accord by Dec. 13 on a long-term blueprint for tax and spending policies over the next decade.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, stressed that under the deal, which he negotiated with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, budget cuts extracted in the 2011 fiscal showdown were not reversed, as some Democrats had wanted, a slim reed that not even he claimed as a significant victory.

The deal, Mr. McConnell said, “is far less than many of us hoped for, quite frankly, but far better than what some had sought.”

“It’s time for Republicans to unite behind other crucial goals,” he added.

With Senate Republican hard-liners promising cooperation, the Senate is expected to move first. Progress slowed as the deal’s framework was being translated into detailed legislative language. The Senate vote was expected in the early evening. The House would then follow, with a final vote likely around midnight.

Earlier, a Democratic leader had said the Senate would provide the legislative language to the House, which would vote first.

Chastened Senate Republicans said they hoped the outcome would be a learning experience for lawmakers in the House and the Senate who shut down the government in hopes of gutting Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Instead of using the twin deadlines of an end to government funding and borrowing authority to address the drivers of the federal deficit, conservatives focused on a law they could never undo as long as Mr. Obama is president, several senators said.

“We took some bread crumbs and left an entire meal on the table,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “This has been a really bad two weeks for the Republican Party.”

Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, took a swipe at Senators Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, as well as House members who linked further funding of the government to gutting the health care law, which is financed by its own designated revenues and spending cuts.

“Let’s just say sometimes learning what can’t be accomplished is an important long-term thing,” Mr. Burr said, “and hopefully for some of the members they’ve learned it’s impossible to defund mandatory programs by shutting down the federal government.”

But while Mr. Cruz conceded defeat, he did not express contrition.

“Unfortunately, the Washington establishment is failing to listen to the American people,” he said as he emerged from a meeting of Senate Republicans called to ratify the agreement.

Mr. Cruz promised not to use parliamentary tactics to block a final vote, raising hopes that the government will be opened and the debt ceiling will be lifted before Thursday, when the Treasury exhausts its borrowing authority.

“From our side, I don’t see any evidence of delay,” said Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and a Cruz ally.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that Mr. Obama supported the compromise reached by the Senate leaders, and he urged lawmakers in both chambers to pass it quickly.

Mr. Carney said the agreement “achieves what’s necessary” to reopen the federal government after 16 days, and removes “the threat of economic brinksmanship” that raised the possibility of a government default.

“We leave parliamentary procedures to the Congress,” he said. “But we obviously hope that each house will be able to act swiftly. We are already on Day 16 of a wholly unnecessary shutdown of government.”

House Democrats remained confused and angry. On a scale of 1 to 10, “this is a 12,” in terms of ridiculousness, said Jackie Speier, Democrat of California. “This is like a preschool that’s gone awry. I’ve been in public office for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

 At 11th Hour, G.O.P. Blinks in Standoff – NYTimes.com.

 

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House Republicans are offering a debt ceiling deal. What now?


House Republicans are offering a debt ceiling deal. What now?

BY CHRIS CILLIZZA
October 10 at 1:54 pm

House Speaker John Boehner made it official on Thursday: Republicans are open to passing a temporary increase in the debt ceiling if the White House/Senate Democrats agree to negotiate over the terms of a budget resolution that would not only re-open the government but also address the broader debt and spending issues facing the country.

 

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. President Barack Obama is pressuring Boehner to hold votes to avoid a potentially catastrophic default and re-open the federal government, as a new poll indicated Republicans could pay a political price for Washington's fiscal paralysis.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

So, what now? Well, Boehner’s announcement, which came after a meeting to discuss the proposal with the entire Republican conference, raises as many questions as it answers. Among them:

* What does President Obama do? 

 In the immediate aftermath of the Boehner announcement on a temporary debt ceiling offer, his office bombarded reporters with quotes from President Obama, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and other Administration officials expressing their willingness to sign a short-term extension of the debt ceiling if that was what the House could pass. The White House statement that came after the Boehner press conference was far less encouraging on that front, however. “Congress needs to pass a clean debt limit increase and a funding bill to reopen the government,” said a White House official.

That statement can — and perhaps should — be read in a few ways.

First, a statement from the White House praising Boehner’s gambit would have almost certainly doomed its chances of passage through a Republican-controlled House. There are four dozen (or so) conservatives who oppose whatever Boehner says he is for but a whole lot more Republicans than that who would be suspicious about why the White House was so excited about a short-term extension of the debt ceiling.

Second, the White House has little interest in forfeiting the strength of their negotiating position before the President even sits down with the 18-member delegation of House GOPers set to visit the White House Thursday afternoon.  President Obama has been consistent in his assertion that there will be no negotiation over either the debt ceiling or a funding measure to re-open the government. What Republicans are offering is that he can have one but not the other.

The White House needs to decide whether a clean debt ceiling vote — assuming Boehner can get that through the House (more on that below) — is enough to allow them to come to the negotiating table on broader budgetary issues where Republicans will undoubtedly demand some concessions on entitlement reform for a broader deal.

* What do House Republicans do if the White House rejects the deal? 

 House Republicans were quite clear that the offer of a clean debt ceiling increase was entirely dependent on an agreement with President Obama to negotiate a broader budget deal.  If Obama says “no” to that proposal, do House Republicans pull their offer of a clean debt ceiling vote or go forward with it regardless?

Pulling the offer would strengthen Boehner among the tea party wing of the party but would increase the likelihood that the the blame for a potential default would fall even more heavily on Republicans than polling suggests it already is.

Passing a clean debt ceiling increase without any concession from Obama would badly jeopardize Boehner’s standing in the party since it would almost certainly not pass with a majority of the Republican majority voting for it.

* Can a clean debt limit bill win a majority of the majority?

 This is perhaps the most basic question in all of this. Boehner, as we have noted previously in this space,has already passed three pieces of legislation — the fiscal cliff bill, Hurricane Sandy relief funding and the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act — with a minority of Republicans supporting them this year. Does he want to do it again on something as high profile as the debt ceiling?

And, if Boehner doesn’t want to pass a debt ceiling increase with a majority of Democratic votes, can he do so with a majority of Republicans? Boehner himself has cast doubt on that possibility, telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that the votes weren’t there in the House for a clean CR to pass.  Did the vote-counting dynamic change that much over the past four days? Was Boehner simply playing possum over the weekend to strengthen his bargaining position? Boehner isn’t talking so it’s hard to answer those questions.

But, almost no matter what comes out of the meeting at the White House, Boehner’s power over his conference will be tested (again) in the coming days.

 House Republicans are offering a debt ceiling deal. What now?.

 

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Why John Boehner might have no choice but ‘unconditional surrender’


Why John Boehner might have no choice but ‘unconditional surrender’

By Sean SullivanPublished: October 9

 

The biggest takeaway from President Obama’s Tuesday press conference was confirmation that he would sit down and negotiate with Republicans if they passed short-term “clean” bills to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.

“If they can’t do it for a long time, do it for the period of time in which these negotiations are taking place,” Obama said at the White House.

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wasn’t impressed. “What the president said today was, if there is unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us,” said Boehner.

The thing is, it might be Boehner’s best and only option for ending the standoff that has seized Washington.

Let’s take a closer look at why.

The government shutdown has reached its ninth day and Boehner’s outlook now is arguably worse than it was the start of the shutdown. Polling shows the public blames congressional Republicans more than Obama, Democrats haven’t budged from their demand for a “clean” bill to fund the government, and the shutdown is encroaching on the deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

What Boehner needs is a solution, and fast — one, ideally, that satisfies the cast-iron conservatives as much as possible but can also win the support of the Democratic Senate and Obama.

So far, there are no obvious options. And previous efforts have led the speaker nowhere.

He has repeatedly called for Democrats to negotiate with him. They have repeatedly responded that they will only talk after the government is funded and the debt ceiling is raised. The House passed three stopgap spending bills leading up to the shutdown that took aim at Obamacare. The Senate swiftly rejected all of them.

In short, it’s been back to square one again and again.

Boehner has closed the door on the idea of voting for a clean continuing resolution to reopen the government and a clean bill to raise the debt limit. But a short-term version of both might be least painful way out of what’s proven to be a very tough situation for him.

If Boehner were to agree to a very short-term — say, six to eight weeks — debt ceiling extension and government funding bill, he could sell it to his conference as a chance to get Democrats to the negotiating table on health-care and spending. And in short order, Republicans would have some leverage once again, as yet another shutdown would be triggered without a deal and the risk of default would be resurrected without another debt ceiling increase.

Would it be easy to sell that plan to conservatives committed to gaining concessions from Democrats now? No. It would be difficult.

But consider the alternative. Obama’s not budging. Neither is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). If Boehner doesn’t either, he’d be left with a prolonged shutdown that polling shows has reflected poorly on Republicans. And he’d have a major stake in the potentially dire consequences of not raising the debt ceiling.

Viewed in that context, short-term bills suddenly don’t seem as tough to swallow.

There are no easy answers for Boehner. There are no endgames that don’t involve him absorbing more blame. But with the walls closing in and the options running out, what Boehner wrote off as “surrender” Tuesday might soon end up being the least painful path for him to walk.

 Why John Boehner might have no choice but ‘unconditional surrender’.

 

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The House GOP has nothing to show for its government shutdown – The Washington Post


The House GOP has nothing to show for its government shutdown

By Editorial BoardPublished: October 7

WHAT HAVE House Republicans managed to accomplish in a week of government shutdown?

Damage the livelihood of millions of Americans? Check. Government secretaries, food-truck operators, cleaners who work in motels near national parks: They’re all hurting.

Waste billions of taxpayer dollars? Check. It costs a lot to shut agencies, Web sites and parks, and it will cost a lot to reopen them. Meanwhile, the House has voted to pay the salaries, eventually, of hundreds of thousands of employees whom it has ordered not to work. That’s an odd way to manage an enterprise.

Interfere with key government operations? Check. The National Transportation Safety Board can’t investigate an accident last weekend on Metro’s Red Line that claimed the life of a worker. That could make future accidents more likely. On the other side of the world, U.S. allies from Tokyo to Singapore are wondering whether they can rely on a nation whose president has to go AWOL from a key summit meeting in their region.

Rattle the markets, slow an economy in recovery, interrupt potentially lifesaving research at the National Institutes of Health? Check, check and check.

Derail the hated Obamacare? Ch . . . — oh, no, wait a minute. That was the GOP’s ostensible purpose for this travesty of misgovernment, but the online insurance markets created by that law opened on schedule last week and continue to operate. In fact, the Republicans managed only to distract attention from the computer glitches that would have gobbled up all the news attention if the government weren’t shut.

In a revealing moment Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos replayed a clip from last year in which House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) explained the foolishness of the tactic that he is now, a year later, pursuing. “It’s pretty clear that the president was reelected,” Mr. Boehner said then. “Obamacare is the law of the land. If we were to put Obamacare into the CR [continuing resolution] and send it over to the Senate, we were risking shutting down the government. That is not our goal.”

Cowed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and bullied by the most conservative members of his caucus, Mr. Boehner has done exactly what he said made no sense. Now he doesn’t know how to get out of the predicament. A shutdown is bad; a default on the debt, which looms 10 days from now, could be catastrophic. The speaker is demanding that President Obama negotiate, while setting “red lines” for those hypothetical talks (“Very simple. We’re not raising taxes.”). It’s not an impressive strategy.

At some point, Mr. Obama and the Democrats will have to throw the speaker a lifeline. As tempted as they may be to see the Republicans blamed for economic disaster, giving the Democrats a chance to recapture the House in 2014, the potential damage to the nation is too great — and Americans could end up blaming everyone who seems to have a hand in this mess. A temporary extension of the debt ceiling, a reopening of the government and a commitment to engage in a process that leads to budget and tax reform: The ingredients of a deal are there.

But throwing a lifeline is pointless until the victim realizes he may be drowning. It’s not clear the Republicans have reached that point. The danger is they will take the country down with them.

 The House GOP has nothing to show for its government shutdown – The Washington Post.

 

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Why Most Republicans Do Not Seem To Know They Are Getting Their Butts Kicked | All Things Democrat


Why Most Republicans Do Not Seem To Know They Are Getting Their Butts Kicked

Sunday, October 6th, 2013  by Ken

 

During the 2012 presidential campaign one of the greatest sources of amusement for us lefties was to point and laugh at various conservatives as they confidently predicted a landslide win for Mitt Romney.

Expecting Republicans to simply give up and admit defeat prior to the election may have been unrealistic, but Republicans took the expectations game to a whole ‘nutha level. They “unskewed” polls to show Romney with a lead. They witnessed the gathering masses and took the growing crowds packing Romney events to mean that they were going to win. They read the tealeaves. They looked at historical precedents. They simply could not understand how the nation would ever re-elect Barack Obama after such a disastrous 1st term. Their best political minds took everything into consideration, discounted what was not right wing propaganda, and pronounced that Romney was going to win in a laugher. Even George Will, the supposed conservative brainiac wunderkind predicted a Romney landslide just prior to the election, even as every legitimate indicator predicted the correct outcome.

Quite simply Republicans were not willing to accept the reality beyond their own misleading echo chamber.

Mitt Romney and most Republicans were just shocked by the outcome of the election. The election night coverage on Fox was highlighted by the on-air meltdown of Karl Rove when his network declared Obama had won Ohio and thus re-election. When the right wing echo chamber was forced to deal with cold hard reality, it did not go well for them.

Fast forward nearly a year to the current budget crisis and it would seem that Republicans (with a few notable exceptions) have not learned anything. Conservatives from Rush Limbaugh to Fox News are using their echo chamber to trumpet the government shutdown as a Republican triumph, and a Democratic boondoggle. Republicans have convinced themselves that they are winning the messaging war by hanging out at the WWII memorial (which they have voted to close btw) and passing short term funding measures for various hot button issues. When presented with evidence that the American people do not agree with them on the shutdown, they bring out echo chamber tested talking points about it being Reid’s or Obama’s fault.

They are getting trounced and they are convinced that they are winning. The latest polling shows the Republicans would have trouble holding the house if a general election were held today. The prospects for Republicans against generic Democrats in the poll are even worse when it is disclosed that the Republican in question voted to shut down the government.

On the same day this poll was released Republicans fanned out on the Sunday talk shows promising to dig in their heels by throwing in the promise to default on the debt in addition to shutting down the government. Because this has been such a winning strategy for them after all.

The truth is the right wing echo chamber is powered by falsehood and self-aggrandizing fear mongers. It is an enterprise for the enrichment of the right wing elite. Promoting a winning political agenda is not the primary concern of the right wing echo chamber charlatans. Their primary mission in life is to enrich themselves with empty promises to change the basic nature of the American system or to fight against this or that outrage… if you will only donate $25 to the cause, or support their gold hustling advertisers.

I used to be convinced that Fox News and the rabid haters on talk radio were going to cause the downfall of the Republic. Now I am convinced that the right wing echo chamber will only cause the downfall of the Republican party.

 Why Most Republicans Do Not Seem To Know They Are Getting Their Butts Kicked | All Things Democrat.

 

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Boehner Advises Americans to Delay Getting Cancer for a Year : The New Yorker


The Borowitz Report

 

SEPTEMBER 29, 2013

BOEHNER ADVISES AMERICANS TO DELAY GETTING CANCER FOR A YEAR

POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ

john-boehner-obamacare-580.jpg

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a special Sunday radio address, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) delivered a health tip to the American people, advising them to delay getting cancer for a year.

“We’re involved in a high-stakes fight over our freedom from centralized government control of our lives,” said Mr. Boehner, speaking on behalf of his House colleagues. “You can do your part by delaying getting cancer.”

He added that heart disease, emphysema, and diabetes were among a laundry list of conditions that would be “patriotic to avoid for a year.”

“If you delay getting any of these things for the next twelve months, together we will win this fight,” he said.

In closing, he reassured the American people that in the event of a government shutdown, members of Congress’ health benefits would remain intact: “We want to be in tip-top shape to continue to do the excellent job we’re doing for you.”

 Boehner Advises Americans to Delay Getting Cancer for a Year : The New Yorker.

 

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Ted Cruz Completely Screws John Boehner With His Publicity Stunt Faux Filibuster


Ted Cruz Completely Screws John Boehner With His Publicity Stunt Faux Filibuster

By: Jason Easley Sep. 25th, 2013

 

Ted Cruz’s all night faux filibuster has created a big problem for House Republicans. Sen. Cruz has chewed up so much time that Boehner will only have a few hours to respond to the Senate passed bill funding the ACA.

According to The Washington Post, “Speaking with little assistance from his Republican colleagues, Cruz assured that debate on the spending measure will stretch well into the weekend. With Senate passage all but certain on a bill that will include funding for the health-care law, Cruz’s strategy will give House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and his colleagues only a few hours to respond with a different version of the legislation.”

Sen. Cruz (R-TX) has responded to the House Republican criticism that he is ball less by making sure that Boehner and the House will have very little time to craft a reply to whatever passes the Senate. Cruz’s behavior is more evidence that his behavior is not about doing what’s best for the Republican Party. He isn’t interested in the welfare of the Republican Party. Since he opposes health insurance for 30 million Americans, Cruz isn’t interested in the welfare of the American people. This is all a selfish, grandstanding effort to both raise money and fuel speculation about his potential 2016 campaign.

Thanks to Ted Cruz, Speaker Boehner faces all the pressure. Republicans aren’t going to blame Cruz for forcing the House to pass a continuing resolution that doesn’t defund Obamacare. They’re going to blame John Boehner for passing the bill. Ted Cruz will look like a hero to the right, but every word he speaks is another nail in the Republican coffin.

Cruz’s dramatics illustrate why Republicans have no interest in getting rid of Obamacare. Much like abortion, the ACA has become a publicity and fundraising tool. If Republicans were successful in repealing the ACA, they would lose their favorite new tool for scaring and motivating their base.

Republicans can laud Ted Cruz as a great American, but he has completely screwed the Republican Party and exposed the fraud behind their Obamacare opposition.

 Ted Cruz Completely Screws John Boehner With His Publicity Stunt Faux Filibuster.

 

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Don’t blame Boehner for House dysfunction – The Washington Post


Opinions

Don’t blame Boehner for House dysfunction

By Steve LaTourettePublished: September 20

Steve LaTourette, who represented Ohio’s 19th and 14th congressional districts in the U.S. House from 1995 to 2013, is president of Main Street Partnership, an organization of centrist Republicans.

There has been a lot of talk in both Democratic and Republican circles about whetherHouse Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) can lead his caucus. Incidents such as the defeat of the farm bill on the House floor have been cited to support this narrative.

But much of the blame for Washington failures has been mislaid.

Gallery

Gallery

The focus on Boehner has been more intense because House Democrats have abdicated any meaningful role in passing legislation. Few bills are able to garner Democratic support, often not because of policy differences but because House Democratic leaders have decided they would rather wash their hands of responsibility for governing and, instead, focus on winning back the majority.

The role of the minority party is to be the “loyal opposition,” and Democrats have gotten it half right — they are opposed to everything House Republicans do, but there is not much loyal about it.

Democrats frequently push back against this, arguing that Boehner isn’t willing to move legislation that isn’t supported by a majority of his caucus even if there would be 218 votes for passage. But the reality is that Boehner has been willing to waive the “Hastert rule” and bring important legislation to the floor. He did so this year with the “fiscal cliff” deal and with theViolence Against Women Act. He is, however, the leader of the GOP caucus, so he has to pick and choose the times he is willing to move forward without a majority of Republicans — or risk not being their leader much longer.

Boehner is a skilled politician who is more than able to lead his caucus — well, at least the 180 or so members interested in actively participating in the legislative process. Unfortunately for Boehner, for the House as an institution and for the country in general, these 180 public servants are not the problem.

Thirty to 40 other members of the House, however, believe their only responsibility as a member of Congress is to show up and vote “no.” Frankly, they take such a dim view of their job that a trained monkey could do what they do. And, sadly, the situation is becoming one in which the monkeys are running the zoo.

It is these members who are largely responsible for the dysfunction in Washington and the failure of the legislative process. They have gleefully ground to a halt the work of the people. Because of them, agreement cannot be reached on legislation once deemed too important not to pass, such as the farm bill or the transportation bill.

These members are cheered on by interest groups such as the Club for Growth andFreedomWorks, organizations that have made a lucrative business out of Washington’s dysfunction.

The No On Everything caucus, exemplified by members such as Justin Amash (R-Mich.),Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Tim Huels­kamp (R-Kan.), has tapped into Americans’ unhappiness with Washington while deepening the dysfunction that has bred such widespread contempt among voters. It’s an admirable feat of political skill in the basest sense, but it is also everything that is wrong with politics today.

Our country faces some heady issues. There is a fight looming over funding the government that could lead to a government shutdown. That will be followed by debate over whether toraise the debt ceiling, with the specter of the United States defaulting on its debts as the backdrop. We have a limited window of time to deal with other important questions, such as fundamental tax reform and critical reforms to the U.S. immigration system.

It is time for Democrats and the No On Everything caucus to step up and become meaningful participants in the legislative process.

It is said that politics can make strange bedfellows. Progressives may say they bemoan the “radicalism” of the tea party, and tea party advocates may claim to despise the “tactics” of liberals, but the truth is that both sides have abdicated the most basic responsibilities of elected officials. Both sides are complicit in creating an environment in which nothing can be accomplished.

Running for office is not an obligation; one isn’t forced to do it. And those lucky enough to be entrusted with the faith of the voters they were elected to represent have obligations that come with the office. Our nation faces serious challenges. We need men and women in Congress who are willing to get to work finding solutions. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option.

 Don’t blame Boehner for House dysfunction – The Washington Post.

 

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