Something truly remarkable happened in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.
First, Democrats blocked a vote that a president of their own party called for two days earlier. And that night, the Majority Leader moved to shut down a debate on taxes that hadn’t even begun.
Earlier this week, President Obama issued an outrageous ultimatum to Congress: raise taxes on about one million business owners, he said, and I promise not to raise taxes on everybody else.
At a moment when the American people are reeling from the slowest recovery in modern times, when the percentage of those who could work are working is at a three-decade low, and just five months away from the economic body blow that will result if tax rates spike, as scheduled, on Jan.1, the president’s solution is to take more money away from the very businesses folks are counting on to create the jobs they need. Presumably, so he can spend it on solar companies and stimulus bills.
This was the president’s brilliant economic solution to the mess we’re in. Naturally, Republicans opposed it. The way we see it, nobody should see an income tax hike right now — not small businesses, not individuals, nobody. The problem isn’t that Washington taxes too little, but that it spends too much.
But rather than just talk about it, we thought we should actually take a vote on it. After all, the president himself boasted Monday that he’d sign a bill to raise taxes on small businesses right away if we passed it. So that’s what we suggested: two votes: one on the President’s plan — once it’s actually written — and one on ours.
But the Democrat Majority Leader in the Senate blocked it from happening. Why? Because, as usual, Senate Democrats want to have it both ways.
Two years ago, 40 Democrats in the Senate voted to do precisely what Republicans are proposing now: keep everybody’s taxes right where they are, and do no harm. Well, the president apparently doesn’t want any of them to vote that way again now.
In other words, he doesn’t want to do what’s right for the economy and jobs. He wants to do what he thinks is good for his re-election. For some reason his advisors think it helps him to take more money away from small, already-struggling business owners in this country and spend it on more government. That’s the plan anyway. And he wants everybody to stick with it.
So Wednesday the Democrat Majority leader did what the White House told him to: he made sure there wasn’t a vote on a proposal that a president of his own party demanded two days earlier — and then offered a vote Thursday on a bill that isn’t even written, and only if Democrats and Republicans give up their ability to offer amendments to the Reid bill.
This is the kind of absurdity you get when you’ve got a governing party that’s more concerned with winning an election than in facing up to the consequences of the president’s failed economic policies. But it gets even more absurd than that — because the Democrat Majority Leader didn’t just block us from having votes on whether to raise taxes or not. He wouldn’t even let us have a debate about it.
… But the larger issue is this: all of these petty political maneuvers betray an astounding lack of concern about not only the economic crisis we’re in, but the threat that’s posed by the fiscal cliff we all know is looming in January.
A New York Times article from Thursday morning suggests that one reason the economy has slowed down so much this summer is that businesses are reacting to the uncertainty about what happens at the end of the year. And yet here’s the Democrat-controlled Senate, blocking votes, blocking debate, and hosting private meetings with the president’s political advisors on political strategy instead of working on serious, bipartisan solutions.
Wednesday night, Democrat leaders admitted that the bill they wanted Republicans to turn to hadn’t even been written yet. Think about that: the proposal the president announced Monday with so much fanfare hasn’t even been put on paper yet. And yet Democrats wanted us to move to it. Move to what? A speech? This is the level of seriousness we’re seeing from the Democrat-controlled Senate. This is how seriously they take this economy crisis. It’s nothing but a political game to them.
If the President has a proposal, we’ll be happy to send an intern down to the White House to pick it up. But we can’t vote on a speech. And, frankly, we can’t continue like this.
It’s long past time Democrats at the White House and in the Senate took the lives and challenges of working Americans as seriously as they take politics. It’s time to put childish things aside and get to the business of the people.