Man, the list of things to blog about just keeps getting longer as issues like last Friday’s vote on the Republican budget plan come to my attention…too good to resist. First, you should read this article. But in a nutshell, here’s what it will tell you. The Republican Study Committee’s alternative budget plan was up for a vote in the House. In a brilliant move, the House Democrats decided to go against the status quo. This would not just be another bipartisan vote that led to more bickering across the aisle about who has the better plan and who has America’s interests at heart yaddy yaddy ya. No, no…our Democratic friends in the House decided to see how committed to their plan the Republicans actually were! So rather than voting “nay” they voted “present.” What does this mean? Well, in the house, bills pass by a simple majority. But the Democrats took themselves out of the equation all together leaving the Republicans alone to decide if their plan should pass! BRILLIANT! The outcome should have been a gimme for Republicans. But as it turns out…not so many Republicans support the republican agenda as one might think! When all was said and done, the plan went down by a small margin, 119-136. A full 172 Democrats voted “present.”
So what does this mean? On April 9, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave the Weekly Republican Address. He discussed the Republican’s budget plan, which as been called the “Path to Prosperity”, which they claim will “spur private-sector job growth, stop Washington from spending money it doesn’t have, and lift the crushing burden of debt that threatens our future.” In this address, Representative Ryan stated that “Washington has not been telling you the truth about the magnitude of problems we are facing,” and that “each day that congress fails to act, the government takes one step closer to breaking its promise to current retirees.” That may well be true, but I must ask, Chairman, why then, when given an open opportunity from Democrats, didn’t you act? Why didn’t you save us from being one step closer to breaking those promises?
He also stated that “Economists agree that advancing a credible solution to the (debt) crisis will begin to restore confidence and create better conditions for job creation.” Huh. Soooo…I guess the “Path to Prosperity” then isn’t that “credible solution” after all? Ryan went on to say that “Our budget cuts 6.2 billion dollars of spending from the President’s budget over the next 10 years. This keeps government spending as a share of the economy consistent with the historical average of twenty percent so that individuals and the economy can be free…it keeps borrowing in check and puts us on the path to balance.” But as it turns out, Chairman Ryan, you don’t really think this plan does that, do you? Or, at the very least, not enough Republicans, and certainly not enough members of the House as a whole do, or you’d have passed it.
Republicans had a chance, all by themselves, to stand up for what they say they believe in, to pass what they say is the “Path to Prosperity” and yet…they didn’t. When Chairman Ryan criticized President Obama and the Democrats for putting progress behind campaigning, and said during his address that “It is time for officials in Washington to stop acting like politicians and start acting like leaders,” I have to wonder, who in the world was he referring to? His party? Certainly not. It looks a whole lot more like the Republicans wanted to propose a bill that countered the Dems, made the Republicans look like the party that was going to save America, but all along were relying on the good sense of the Democrats in congress to keep that budget from ever seeing the light of day. Well last Friday House Democrats shone the light on the Republicans. And they scurried right into the shadows, tails between their legs. Perhaps now, under this new, brighter light of scrutiny, our elected officials can take one step closer to actually working together to create a budget plan that has more to do with what works for America and less to do with what they think will get them reelected. Here’s hoping…