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Why We Have a Do-Nothing Congress

Monday, 08 July 2013 14:16 By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program | News Analysis
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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), third from left, and other Gang of Eight senators during a news conference after a Senate vote on immigration legislation, in Washington, June 27, 2013. The Senate approved the most significant overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws in a generation with broad bipartisan support, sending the bill to the Republican-controlled House. (Christopher Gregory / The New York Times).Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), third from left, and other Gang of Eight senators during a news conference after a Senate vote on immigration legislation, in Washington, June 27, 2013. The Senate approved the most significant overhaul of the nation's immigration laws in a generation with broad bipartisan support, sending the bill to the Republican-controlled House. (Christopher Gregory / The New York Times).

Every two years a new Congress is sworn in, and the current Congress is the 113th that’s been sworn in since the George Washington presidency, and it’s well on its way to setting a very undesirable record.

The current do-nothing Congress is on track to pass fewer bills than the 112th do-nothing Congress, which passed the fewest number of bills signed into law since record keeping began back in the 1940’s.

Right now, the 113th Congress has a pile of legislation yet to be considered, including everything from student loans, to immigration reform, post office reform, and looming fiscal deadlines for the debt limit.

But don’t expect this latest and greatest rendition of the do-nothing Congress to get around to any of that any time soon.

Since the 113th Congress took over Capitol Hill in January, lawmakers have only managed to pass 15 bills that were signed into law by President Obama.

To put that number into perspective, it’s 8 fewer bills than in the first sixth months of the 112th Congress, and a whopping 19 fewer bills than in the first six months of the 111th Congress.

And of those 15 bills that were passed and signed into law, very few contained legislation addressing the most serious issues affecting America today.

That is of course unless you count specifying “the size of the precious-metal blank that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins” as an issue of urgent national importance.

So, how did we get to the point in Washington where Congress can’t manage to pass legislation of urgent importance, but passes a bill addressing coinage just like that?

The stunning inaction and backlog in the 113th Congress can be traced back to January 20, 2009.

On a night when most of us were out celebrating the start of the Obama presidency, and attending galas and balls, a group of Republican lawmakers was plotting the end of the Obama Presidency, before it had really begun.

On that night at the Caucus Room restaurant in Washington, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill plotted to intentionally sabotage and undermine the Obama presidency at every chance possible.

As Robert Draper notes in his book, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives,” the list of attendees at the Caucus Room dinner was a virtual who’s-who of Republican power players in Washington.

On the guest list for the four hour, “invitation only” meeting were Republican Congressmen Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Pete Sessions, Jeb Hensarling, Pete Hoekstra and Dan Lungren. Republican Senators Jim DeMint, Jon Kyl, Tom Coburn, John Ensign and Bob Corker were also in attendance. The whole thing was orchestrated by Republican propaganda mastermind Frank Luntz.

Newt Gingrich was also in attendance, and on my radio show a few months back, he flat out admitted that the purpose of the dinner meeting was to come up with a plan to sabotage the Obama presidency.

During the dinner, the Republican lawmakers vowed to bring Congress to an absolute standstill, regardless of how badly Congressional inaction would hurt the already hurting American economy and people, by pledging to obstruct, filibuster and block any legislation that President Obama approved of.

And while the meeting at the Caucus Room was top-secret, Republican attendees at that meeting were very frank, just a couple months later, about what had transpired.

Congressman Pete Sessions told the National Journal in March of 2009 that the Republican sabotage plan was all about following the tactics of the Taliban, a terrorist organization.

Sessions said that, “Taliban Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban. Insurgency is the way they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban -- is an example of how you go about to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that Insurgency may be required when [dealing with] the other side.”

The Texas Congressman went on to say that, “If they [democrats] do not give us those options or opportunities then we will then become Insurgency ... I think Insurgency is a mindset and an attitude that we're going to have to search for and find ways to get our message out and to be prepared to see things for what they are, rather than trying to do something about them.”

And this “Taliban-like insurgency” is working.

Every one of the lawmakers that attended the Caucus Room dinner has since threatened a government shutdown.

During the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations, Caucus Room attendees Congressman Eric Cantor and Senator Jon Kyl walked out of negotiations, and refused to re-start discussions with their Democratic counterparts. As a result of this intentional negotiation collapse, America’s credit rating was lowered.

Since that January 2009 dinner, Senators Jim DeMint, Jon Kyl, Tom Coburn, John Ensign and Bob Corker have helped to filibuster more bills than during any other Congress combined in history.

And, the group of Senators has voted “No” to widely bipartisan legislation, including Senator Al Franken’s anti-rape amendment, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and even an anti-outsourcing bill in 2010 that would have protected millions of American jobs.

Republicans are so intent on sabotaging the Obama presidency that they’re unwilling to say no to rape.

Unfortunately, despite this appalling behavior by Republican lawmakers in Congress, the media has completely failed to tell Americans about the Republican plan that was hatched at the Caucus Room in January of 2009. The media has failed to report on the real reason why the 113th Congress could be the worst in history.

And it’s time for that to change.

It’s time for everyone to wake up, and realize that Republicans are intentionally trying to destroy this country to sabotage the Obama presidency, and they’re doing it with absolutely no regard for any damage done to the American people and economy in the process.

Every time the media reports on Republican obstructionism, they should also point out that this has been a very methodical, well-planned, and, so far, effective conspiracy to destroy the Obama presidency. Nothing more, nothing less.

And nothing could be more anti-American than what these Republicans are doing.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

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