No Jobs from the GOP | Nel’s New Day

No Jobs from the GOP | Nel’s New Day.

Jobs, jobs, jobs. That was the campaign promise of the Tea Party infusion of 2010. Yet Congress has done nothing about increasing employment and erasing income inequality. In their new attempt to less offensive to everyone except white males, they have switched away from moral legislating into repetition of what has failed for the past four years or just plain inertia.

A debate among pundits is how many times the House has voted to repeal Obamacare, but it seems to be between 33 and 39 times. No matter how many, the House is about to add another one. Wednesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced that there would be another vote of the full House next week because, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, not everybody in the House has had a chance to vote against it.

The Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare is legal, and Boehner declared, “Obamacare is the law of the land.” The bill has no chance to moving forward after the House passes it. The country is still suffering from high unemployment, the middle class has become the poor, the infrastructure is in shambles, and Congress has passed no budget. But the freshmen class needs its rite of passage to deny people in the United States affordable access to quality health care. And the House is just sitting around for another 18 months hoping that the GOP will take over the Senate in the next election.

One of the parts of Obamacare that the GOP wants to block is a fair comparison and transparency of insurance costs. People on Social Security can easily compare costs of supplemental insurance. If you want the benefits given under “C,” for example, you can see what every insurance company charges for “C.” Yesterday in Oregon, the same thing started to happened for all individual consumers and small business owners. Achart of 2014 insurance premiums shows what each insurance company is charging for the same benefits. Two insurers who checked out the competition have already asked for “do-overs” to lower their rates.

According to Oregon Live, “here’s what competition looks like: one health insurer wants to charge $169 a month next year to cover a 40-year-old Portland-area non-smoker. Another wants $422 a month for the same standard plan.” And which insurance company do you think will get more money? The GOP is opposed to this in the same way that they oppose the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doing the same thing for credit card agreements.

Yesterday, Republicans in the House did manage to approve the Full Faith and Credit Act (HR 807), better named “Pay China First,” that’s what the bill does. Looking forward to the need to raise the debt ceiling, the GOP decided to increase it only to pay off bondholders and pay Social Security. Anyone else, including the military, would get nothing. Although GOP claims that China holds only 8 percent of the U.S. debt, “Pay China First” is a catchy title. If the debt to the Social Security fund is included, China holds 22 percent of our debt.

Only 8 House Republicans voted against the FFC Act while every Democrat opposed it, resulting in a 221-207 vote. The House knows that the Senate won’t touch their bill, and the president certainly won’t sign it. And the country doesn’t need a debt ceiling hike until at least October. The fact that the GOP would start planning five months ahead is highly unusual for them. Perhaps they’re trying to avoid the bigotry and misogyny so obvious in their approaches to non-fiscal bills.

Another reason for these debt discussions might be to drive the stock market down to make the president look bad. The DOW has gone from under 8,000 to over 15,000 in the less than five years that Barack Obama has been president. The GOP can’t prove that the president is a failure as long as the stock market is so high. The GOP bill could also send a signal to foreign lenders that the nation might not be fiscally sound. The last time that the GOP played around with the debt ceiling, the country paid billions of dollars extra in additional interest; the same thing could happen this time. The GOP appears to be willing to destroy the country in order to get Republicans elected.

John Boehner explained why China would get the money before members of the military or doctors or small businesses or anyone else in the United States: “Those who have loaned us money, like in any proceeding, if you will, court proceeding, the bondholders usually get paid first. Same thing here.”

The GOP prefers to develop a plan in case of crisis instead of providing solutions to avoid the crisis. They also ignore the $407 billion that the federal government collected in April, the highest amount for any other month on record. This amount created abudget surplus of $113 billion and doesn’t reflect the $59 billion that mortgage giant Fannie Mae has promised to repay the government in June.

While the House GOP busies itself passing stupid bills, the Senate drags its heels in the budget field. Under duress, the Senate Democrats passed a budget for to please the Republicans. Because it differs from the House version (that’s an understatement!), the GOP is blocking efforts to form a conference committee to develop a compromise budget. After snarky nagging from Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sens. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Dan Coats (R-IN), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Roy Blunt (R-MO) to get a Senate budget passed, the budget business compromise came to a screeching halt.

The House GOP is matching the Senate conservatives with its own paralysis. Republicans had hoped that they could extort a budget deal before August recess, but the debt ceiling isn’t coming that early. Now they have to wait until the threat of a government shutdown on October 1Without leverage, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said last Tuesday that they have no reason to open format budget negotiations because Democrats have no reason to revise Medicare and the U.S. Tax Code. In plain words, right now the GOP doesn’t have what it needs to blackmail the Democrats. They’re admitting that they won’t work for a budget unless they can threaten to crash the economy.

Ryan said, “The debt limit is the backstop.” He wants only to rule by self-inflicted crisis. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said, “Sometimes we don’t want to act until a gun is at our heads.” He flagrantly and explicitly stated that all the GOP wants is the ability to blackmail the Democrats. He describes a party of thugs, a gang that will perform any act, legal or illegal, to get their own way even if it has no benefit for the people of the United States government.

The GOP complains incessantly about President Obama: he’s not trying to get things done, he’s not leading because nothing happens; he doesn’t really mean it when he reaches out across the aisle. But which party is not trying to get things done, not leading, and not reaching across the aisle? I rest my case.

NEWSFLASH: Judge Condemns Obama Policy on Plan B

NEWSFLASH: Judge Condemns Obama Policy on Plan B.

UPDATE: Judge Korman refused to put on hold his order to make emergency contraception available over the counter to all ages. He has extended the implementation of his order until Monday at noon in order to allow time for the Obama administration to appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan. In the decision, Korman said the government’s choices in this issue have been “largely an insult to the intelligence of women.”

After District Court Judge Edward Korman’s order last month that the Food and Drug Administration must provide emergency contraception over the counter to all ages was appealed last week by the Department of Justice, he got a chance to respond Tuesday morning.

In the two-hour hearing, the Obama administration defended its stance while Korman argued the administration’s policy is based on politics rather than on scientific evidence. Korman said,

It turns out that the same policies that President Bush followed were followed by President Obama.

The FDA announced last week that it would be loosening restrictions on Plan B One-Step—now allowing Plan B One-Step to be sold over the counter and to those ages 15 and older, rather than the previous regulation of 17 and older—and that its decision was independent of Korman’s order. However, on Tuesday, Korman accused the Department of Justice of using the FDA’s new regulations to “sugarcoat” its appeal of Korman’s order.

The FDA decided in 2011 that EC would be available over the counter to all ages, but in December of that year Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, blocked the decision, saying there was not enough information to prove EC was safe for all ages. When Korman overruled Sebelius’ decision last month, he called her decision “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified and contrary to agency precedent.”

In response to the Department of Justice’s appeal of his order, Korman says:

The irony is that I would be allowing what the FDA wanted. This has got to be one of the most unusual administrative law cases I have ever seen … I would have thought that on the day I handed down my decision, they would be drinking champagne at the FDA.

A large part of Korman’s overall argument, and one he presented Tuesday morning, was that restricting EC by requiring a form of photo ID excludes a large part of the population—specifically, minorities and immigrants. Of the U.S. population that is of voting age, 11 percent don’t have a government-issued photo ID. That impact proves to be greater on minorities—9 percent of whites don’t have photo IDs while 16 percent of Latino Americans and 25 percent of African Americans don’t have them. Korman argues,

You’re disadvantaging young people, African-Americans, the poor—that’s the policy of the Obama administration?

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, also believes the lessened restrictions are not sufficient. She said:

Lowering the age restriction … may reduce delays for some young women—but it does nothing to address the significant barriers that far too many women of all ages will still find if they arrive at the drugstore without identification or after the pharmacy gates have been closed for the night or weekend.

These are daunting and sometimes insurmountable hoops women are forced to jump through in time-sensitive circumstances …

Frank Amanat, a representative to the Obama administration, said making EC an over-the-counter drug was unprecedented and that public interest was best served when “the government acts deliberately and incrementally.” To which Korman sarcastically replied:

Tell me about the public interest. Is there a public interest in unplanned pregnancies? Some of which end in abortions?

Korman is due to rule on the administration’s request for a stay before the end of this week. Based on his previous stance and his impassioned reaction Tuesday morning, most likely Korman will deny it [Note:  Korman did deny it] and defer the enforcement of the stay to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (where it could then be deferred to the U.S. Supreme Court for a final decision).