GOP Efforts to Satisfy Tea Party Extremists Threaten Jobs, Disaster Aid
We warned you last week that Republicans and their job-killing agenda were back with a vengeance. Today, House Republicans put a measure up for a vote that would’ve threatened tens of thousands of American jobs. However, in a hugely embarrassing loss for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the plan was defeated after a bipartisan revolt caused the measure to fail on a vote of 195-230.
Here’s a rundown of what exactly caused the revolt and why it’s time for the Republican leadership to stand up to the Tea Party.
WHAT: The must-pass bill to keep the government funded and open after Sept. 30 when the current funding bill runs out.
Attached to the bill was a highly controversial measure that gives the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund additional funding to pay for both recent disaster relief efforts and recovery projects from disasters that may have happened years ago — but only by stealing $1.5 BILLION from a successful job creation program to “offset” the spending to help disaster victims. Strangely, Republicans steal $1.5 BILLION from the jobs program, but only offset $1 BILLION in disaster funding.
THE JOBS REPUBLICANS WANT TO KILL: The program they want to steal $1.5 BILLION from, the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program, has already created approximately 40,000 American jobs by spurring American manufacturing in 11 states across the country. The program, if it remains fully funded, stands to create at least another 50-60,000 American jobs in states like Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, and Michigan.
It’s also estimated that the advanced vehicles manufactured as a result of the program will also save us a whopping 311 MILLION gallons of gasoline.
WHY DEMOCRATS REVOLTED TODAY: They were strongly opposed to the GOP’s insistence on deep cuts to a vital jobs program in return for emergency disaster funding — especially at a time when Republicans refuse to ask Big Oil and billionaires to pay their fair share.
In addition, the Republican leadership in Congress all voted for $120 BILLION or so to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, but now they want us to choose between helping Americans recover from natural disasters or helping Americans recover from our jobs crisis. That’s not the kind of choice we should have to make in America.
WHY REPUBLICANS REVOLTED TODAY: In an embarrassing setback for the House Republican leadership, 48 Republicans voted against the GOP’s own bill. But these Republicans didn’t revolt because they were concerned that the bill cut funding to an important jobs program. They revolted because the bill didn’t cut spending enough and because Republicans had promised not to move large omnibus spending bills when they came power after the 2010 election.
The defeat was all the more embarrassing because Boehner is reported to have threatened Republicans earlier in the day today:
Speaking to a closed meeting of House Republicans Wednesday morning, the Ohio Republican made it clear to his GOP colleagues that he was ready to move to strip members of committee assignments if they defy the leadership on the government funding measure headed for a vote this evening.
A BIPARTISAN ALTERNATIVE TO HELP DISASTER VICTIMS: Just last week, the Senate passed a bill providing about $7 BILLION in new disaster funding that was not offset by cuts to a jobs program or anything else. This proposal passed the notoriously gridlocked Senate on a bipartisan vote of 62-37, with fully TEN Republican senators voting in favor of it.
Last week, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) asked Boehner to bring this bipartisan plan up for a vote in the House:
Families across the country have endured hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and wildfires. Federal, state, and local officials have prepared for these natural disasters, responded immediately, and assisted those left to clean up the damage.
In these times of crisis, it is our responsibility in Congress to support local communities and aid in their recovery. Today, the Senate upheld its responsibility; now the House must do the same.
House Republicans are setting a dangerous precedent by requiring that disaster aid be offset, especially when Americans are struggling to rebuild their homes, businesses, and communities. Speaker Boehner must allow a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan bill without further delay.
IN TWO SENTENCES: The Tea Party extremists controlling the GOP and their obsession with spending cuts are threatening both American jobs and vital aid for disaster victims. It’s time for GOP leaders to stand up to the Tea Party and start working with Democrats to do what’s best for our country instead of trying to satisfy an out-of-touch group of Tea Party extremists.
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