Gridlock Is Not An Option

Posted on November 9, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

No matter how it is labeled—a repudiation of liberal policies, a rejection of the status quo, or simply a good old fashion shellacking—the midterm elections have ushered in a new political reality, one that will dramatically alter how business gets done on Capitol Hill.

The November elections saw the Republicans take the House and make an impressive run at the Senate. The House Republicans, under the leadership of incoming speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), are now the majority having picked up at least 60 seats, giving the GOP 239 seats to the Democrats’ 187 with 9 seats still to be determined. While in the Senate the Republicans can safely count in their camp 47of the upper house’s 100 members.

Campaigning on the promise of repealing Obamacare, cutting taxes, reducing spending and shrinking the federal deficit, the Congressional Republicans and their Tea Party associates have pledged to take back the country. But exactly what does that mean? And, more importantly, how will attempting to honor that pledge play out over the next two years?

One newly minted Congressman, riding high on the GOP tsunami, said he’s coming to Washington to take a “crowbar” to the legislative process and “change the rules because folks want us to do things differently.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) provided an even clearer indication of what to expect when he announced, hours after the election results were in, that the GOP’s number one goal is to “deny President Obama a second term in office.”

Doing things differently, really?

Let’s hope the President’s call for cooperation will make a difference. However, given the post midterm rhetoric thus far, it’s safe to assume the partisan bickering that the nation witnessed on Capitol Hill during the last 24 months will continue into the next 24.

The Republicans have made it clear that as soon as they assume control of the House in January they intend to pursue an aggressive conservative agenda, one that calls for:

• Reducing the size of government
• Lowering taxes
• Slashing spending
• Restraining federal regulators

Further, the political pundits are predicting that the new House majority will push for Congressional investigations of the Obama administration.

For their part the Democrats vow to do everything within their power to protect their legislative gains of the past two years.
If this is indeed the case, then both sides have failed to clearly hear, and more crucially, understand what American voters were saying on Nov. 2.

A surly, frustrated and disgusted electorate wants action on its number one priority—the economy. With unemployment stalled at 9.6 percent and more than 15 million Americans out of work it is all about job creation, job creation and more job creation.

What’s more, before the new Congress is installed in January there is still work to be done during the upcoming lame-duck session. There are a number of issues that must be addressed, including extending unemployment insurance benefits, ratifying a new Start nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and reaching agreement on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts.

And if all this weren’t enough, coming up in February is that sticky little matter of raising the nation’s debt limit, which could lead to a disastrous government shut down if political grandstanding is allowed to prevail.

Admittedly, a divided government is challenging with complication and frustration givens, but gridlock is no longer an option America can afford.

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