In Feb. 19 IssueBy Kathy Foley, Columnist
Since the Republicans claimed victory in last November's elections by campaigning on jobs, jobs and more jobs and also on cutting the deficit, last week I devoted this entire column to what they had so far achieved on these matters under the leadership of John Boehner and Eric Cantor. It made for a very short column; non-existent, in fact, other than my introduction. The fact that they have done nothing on these two issues does not mean that they have stopped talking about them. They have continuously told us that jobs are their number one concern-up until this week, that is. This week, Speaker John Boehner called a press conference to tell us
"Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office the Federal Government has added 200,000 new federal jobs and if some of those jobs are lost in this, SO BE IT."
So now we know how he really feels about jobs. Aside from his callous attitude, let me also point out that he is flat out lying about the 200,000 new federal jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose job it is to actually keep track of things like this, in January, 2009 there were approximately 2,792,000 federal employees. In January, 2011 the number had increased by 58,000 to 2,850,000 federal employees-a far cry from Boehner's made-up figure of 200,000. And, by the way, in case anyone cares, proportional to the population, the size of the Federal Government is at a 50-year low right now.
In the six weeks or so since the Republicans took over the house and under Speaker Boehner's and Majority Leader Eric Cantor's leadership it has been nothing but a litany of failures.
On the very first day there was the "Reading of the Constitution Failure" when parts of it were left out because pages got stuck together and other parts were left out just because.
In that same first week there was the "Swearing in Failure" when two Republicans (veteran incumbent, Pete Sessions and freshman, Mike Fitzpatrick) missed the swearing in ceremony and instead attended a fundraiser and stood in front of a television set and raised their hands to take the Oath of Office. They later voted on two issues on the House floor-a major Constitutional no-no.
Then there was the promise they made to cite Constitutional Authority for every bill they introduce. They immediately broke that rule on the first three things they did. I'm calling this one the "Constitutional Authority Failure."
Next is the "Cut-Go Failure." This refers to their promise to cut spending for every bill that adds to the deficit. The very first thing they did was exempted from this new rule.
They promised to post a list of members who attend every committee hearing on-line, so we could know if our Congressmen & women were actually showing up for their work. Sad to say, they discarded that idea as soon as they convened too. This is the "Committee Attendance Failure."
The "Jobs-Jobs-Jobs Failure" was already covered in last week's column and the first paragraph of this one. Instead of jobs, they have introduced (count 'em) THREE sweeping anti-choice bills that would allow Big Brother to sit in with women when they go to their doctor.
I can't help but question the competency of the leadership of Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor when apparently there was no cohesiveness in their party after the State of the Union Address when they had dueling responses-each claiming to be the "official Republican response." But, that's not the biggest reason to question their competency. I guess "Basic Legislating Failure" is what I would call it when they lose 3 votes that they brought to the floor in one 24-hour period. How does that happen?
The "$100 Billion Budget Cut Failure" happened practically the day after the elections when they started walking back their promise to cut the budget by $100 billion in their first year. They settled on $30 billion and then last week they held an emergency meeting and upped it to $61 billion-still a bit shy of their campaign promise.
But speaking of fiscal responsibility, which John Boehner and his pal, Eric Cantor oh so loves to do; is anybody else curious about those extra engines for the F35 Joint Strike Fighter jet? In case you aren't aware, this is the plan to have an extra, back-up engine for this new jet that the Pentagon does not want or need. According to Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, "We consider it an unnecessary and extravagant expense…American taxpayers are spending $28 million per month for an excess and unjustified program that is slated for termination."
Under secretary of Defense, Robert Hale said when asked about Secretary Gates' comments, "What he said is that he will look at all options to terminate the program and remains strongly opposed to the extra engine."
Oddly enough, Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor want to keep the extra engine program to the tune of $450 million, no matter that the military doesn't want it or need it. Do you suppose it could have anything to do with the fact that part of the spare engine is being built right outside Boehner's district in Ohio? Or, that the other company involved in making the spare engine is Rolls Royce, who just built a giant plant in Eric Cantor's district in Virginia and is slated to build part of the engine?
Can you spell PORK? Hey wait a minute! Aren't these the guys who are always yelling about PORK? They hate PORK! … Don't they? Aren't they the fiscally responsible ones in Washington? That's what they are always telling us. Oink.