Majority Leader Hoyer: “GOP obstructionism is damaging Congress.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D:MD) offered lengthy criticism of the Republican Party and their leadership on Monday, claiming that the minority party has traded bipartisanship for blatant obstructionism.
Speaking at the Center for American Progress, Majority Leader Hoyer discussed his concerns over the friction in today’s legislative process and the damage that GOP ideology is causing to Congress as an institution.
“The hard choices that are being forced on our country demand engagement from both parties. Challenges like reforming our massive entitlement programs, controlling the growth of health care spending and responding to climate change- issues that are fraught with political risk and so easy to demagogue that it is impossible for one party to take them on alone. These challenges are dangerously likely to remain untouched as long as at least one party is willing to be a ‘Party of No.'”
The Republican Party have not been in the majority within Congress since the 2006 General Elections. All House of Representative seats, a third of the Senate, 36 state governorships and many state legislatures were contested. The Democratic Party took majority control of the House and Senate, electing the first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, with a turnout of near presidential levels. This severely damaged the momentum and vision of the GOP, and undoubtedly contributed to the historic election of Barack Obama in November 2008.
A Democratic controlled Congress has achieved a plethora of legislative triumphs since 2007. The introduction of their ‘100 Hour Plan’ saw the breaking of the link between lobbyists and legislation, a pay-as-you-go policy to reduce the deficit, the enactment of all recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, increase of the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, federal funding for stem cell projects, lower drug prices for Medicare patients, halving of student loan interest and the end of large tax subsidies for oil corporations. All but three of these initiatives passed, highlighting the motivational drive of the Democratic Party to bring change and transparency to Washington.
The election of President Obama has only highlighted the obstructionism and lack of cooperation from the Republican Party. Whilst some legislation like The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act received bipartisan support, others including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the ongoing American Clean Energy and Security Act have passed only with the Democratic majority. This blatantly shows the GOP’s stubbornness and reluctance to unite with the Majority Party for the good of the American people. Critical issues like financial stability, healthcare reform and investment in clean energy are vital for the development of both America and the wider world and as long as the Republican Party refuse to cooperate these issues will take longer to be solved.
The ideology and attitudes within the minority of the US Congress have increased in their bitterness and obstructionism and it is likely that this particular stance will continue and play a major role in the forthcoming Congressional elections and Presidential election in 2012.