Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What would President Truman say about this Congress?

A group of extreme Republicans in Congress have opposed the President's legislative agenda at every turn. That's no secret.

But the 113th Congress' obstruction is reaching new levels.
Right now, our lawmakers are in a position to take action on multiple national measures that would help our economy and millions of Americans. That's not an exaggeration: They could vote tomorrow. And they should.

Consider this for a second. If our current Congress simply scheduled a vote on pressing national issues, we could:

Fix our broken immigration system. This past June, the Senate passed a bill to ensure everyone plays by the same rules and we grow our economy. Multiple reports confirm that there are enough votes in the House to get it done. And still: No vote.

End workplace discrimination for millions of LGBT Americans once and for all. This isn't difficult: Nobody should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would make it illegal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and it passed the Senate earlier this year. Once again, no vote in the House.

Confirm a leader of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The housing market is coming back, but we can do more to help responsible homeowners. Congressman Mel Watt, the President's nominee, was endorsed by Senators on both sides of the aisle. And yet, at a critical time for the housing industry, when we’re working to implement the rules that will prevent another "too big to fail," Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block his nomination.

Confirm three well-qualified judges to fill long-standing vacancies on the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Cornelia Pillard, Robert Wilkins and Patricia Millett were all selected by the President as nominees for this critical court. Once again, one by one, Senate Republicans blocked each nomination.

And that's just to name a few.

In the 1940s, President Harry Truman notoriously dubbed the 80th Congress the "Do-Nothing Congress." And yet, even they managed to enact 906 laws, including the Marshall Plan, and the piece of legislation that created the Department of Defense and the National Security Council. It’s time for the current Congress to match up a little more favorably.

Remember: They can still allow these incredibly important measures to come to a vote.

It’s time for this obstruction to come to an end, and for Republicans in Congress to start doing their jobs:

David Simas
Deputy Senior Advisor
The White House