4 Tearful Questions for the Speaker of the House

I watched the interview this afternoon between George Stephanopoulos and Speaker John Boehner on This Week in stunned silence.  Mr. Stephanopoulos let the Speaker get away with a line of bullshit for the entire interview.

George, for God’s sake, you served in the Clinton administration.  Surely you and your staff could do better research to generate your questions and follow ups?  I know you are a smart guy.

Had I interviewed the Speaker, there may have well been a few tears shed.  Think of the ratings the show could have attained. But instead we were left with the Speaker babbling over and over about each side talking and then addressing the underlying reasons why we have a $16 trillion dollar national debt.

The Speaker said resolving the government shutdown and keeping the United States from defaulting on its bills starts with a simple conversation.  Is that so, John?

Mr. Speaker, I think you owe it to the American people, whom you serve, answers to the following questions:

1.  The House and Senate finished all work on their respective budget bills by March 23, 2013, over six months ago.  Why have you not scheduled a House-Senate conference to talk about and resolve all outstanding differences between each bill and send the legislation to the president for his signature?

2.  The House is supposed to consider and pass 12 appropriations bills that actually fund the government for a full fiscal year.  To date, the full House has only voted on four of the 12 bills.  Why haven’t you exerted the leadership needed to finish all work in House so the Senate can proceed in a timely fashion and avoid a bruising fight over a temporary funding resolution?

3.  The Budget Control Act of 2011 required a lot of talking and intense negotiations.  I have three questions specific to that Act for you.

  • First, how come you and your Republican caucus did not insist on attaching amendments to limit, delay, or gut Obamacare to the Budget Control Act?  Wouldn’t it have been easier to make a case against the Affordable Care Act before citizens started receiving benefits from the law?
  • Second, the bill the president signed into law received 269 votes in favor on the House floor, including 174 Republicans.  Are you saying that you can’t find a similar number of votes to pass a short-term and clean Continuing Resolution and raise the debt ceiling?
  • Last, if you and your caucus are so serious about deficit reduction, including reining in mandatory spending (i.e. entitlements) why didn’t you lead the way in finding an additional $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years?  Mr. Speaker, you do want to attack the underlying problem behind the national debt, correct?

4.  Can you agree that the intent of sequestration was to provide the incentive to make Congress talk and negotiate to avoid painful automatic spending cuts?  These cuts were suppose to be impossible for both parties to support.  You have had over two years to lead these discussions.  What happened, John?

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that you and your Republican colleagues are doing nothing more than using opposition to the Affordable Care Act to divert the attention away from your lousy record of leadership.  Or, is your party going crazy after losing two national elections to a black man?

Congress has all the tools needed to re-order budget priorities and pass all 12 spending bills.  The House, where all spending and tax legislation must start, has failed over and over again to get its work done.  Instead of talking about fairness for the American people, may be you should just do your job better.
The Budget Control Act of 2011, another law of the land, provides a blueprint for possible compromise.  But wait, I am sorry, I forgot.  Your goal is to see how many laws you can undo.  Maybe that’s the problem! Or, is Eric Cantor breathing down your neck?

What say you, the people?