Commentary by James Turnage
With the Republican Party in control of both Houses, they promised to work harder than their predecessors. Instead they are already following in the footsteps of the 112th and 113th Congress.’ They are once again attempting to destroy everything which was accomplished in the last four years, and have no new ideas which would solve our nation’s problems.
It’s becoming tiresome. Over 50 attempts have been made previously to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Immigration reform is not only approved by the vast majority of Americans, they demand it, but members of the GOP have their own agenda. To say that our government is broken does not tell the truth; we do not have the government designed by our founding fathers; the average person has no representation in Washington.
Today the House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing $40 billion to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Included in the bill were provisions to defund and rollback provisions of President Obama’s executive order regarding immigration reform. The vote was 236-191, and was along party lines; (business as usual); voting for the bill were 234 Republicans and 2 Democrats; against it were 181 Democrats and 10 Republicans. The President has said that he will veto the bill if it contained efforts to negate his legalization of five million undocumented workers.
Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican, co-sponsored a bill on Tuesday which would repeal a medical device tax which helps to fund the Affordable Care Act. At present there is a moderate 2.3 percent tax on devices such as pacemakers and artificial joints. The Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act would repeal that tax. President Obama is expected to veto this bill as well.
Independent voters had hopes that after the midterms and Republicans gained control of the House and Senate, we would once again have a reason to vote for candidates from the GOP. They continue to be controlled by lobbyists and extremists within the party, and offer no hope that they are serious about working to take positive action and accomplish meaningful legislation.
I’m not sure why we expected a change; they voted for the same two men who were unable to lead their party in past years. John Boehner is a poor choice for Speaker of the House; he appears to have little or no knowledge of his responsibilities. He is supposed to be a leader, but in reality is a follower of lobbyists and therefore big business. Mitch McConnell is now the Senate Majority Leader. As the Minority Leader he was the first to say ‘no’ to any and all legislation proposed by the President or his party, even before reading it. He too was an enormous failure as a leader.
If this inaction and lack of leadership continues throughout 2015, Independents will likely side with Democrats in the 2016 general election.
Independents vote for candidates who support their issues; not simply because they have an ‘R’ or ‘D’ next to their name on the ballot, and recent polls show that our numbers represent 43 percent of all voters. There are many important issues. The economy has become less important as unemployment lessens and the stock market soars. However, health care remains important for us and should be a right for all Americans, not just for the privileged few. It is illogical that twelve million people can be deported; immigration reform is not only mandatory; it is the right thing to do.
All 535 members of Congress must reign in their emotions and logically attack each issue. This is only possible if the electorate has chosen qualified individuals to represent them in Washington. I, for one, am not sure that voters chose wisely.
By James Turnage