In Obama’s Words, The Most Obstructionist GOP House In Decades
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Congress is now on a five-week break. But before the House adjourned on Friday —after passing a barricade-the-borders and deport-the-migrant-children immigration bill that will not pass the Senate and would be vetoed by the White House, President Obama vented about the GOP’s obstructionism at a press conference—particularly in the House.
“The point is that on a range of these issues, whether it’s tax reform, whether it’s reducing the deficit, whether it’s rebuilding our infrastructure, we have consistently put forward proposals that in previous years and previous administrations would not have been considered radical or left wing; they would have been considered pretty sensible, mainstream approaches to solving problems,” Obama said. “I include under that, by the way, the Affordable Care Act. That’s a whole other conversation."
“And in circumstances where even basic, common-sense, plain, vanilla legislation can’t pass because House Republicans consider it somehow a compromise of their principles, or giving Obama a victory, then we’ve [the White House] got to take action [by executive orders]. Otherwise, we’re not going to be making progress on the things that the American people care about.”
What follows are Obama’s words, taken from a White House transcript, on seven domestic policy issue areas where the GOP refuses to budge.
1. Roads and Bridges—Infrastructure: “I've been pushing for common-sense ideas like rebuilding our infrastructure in ways that are sustained over many years and support millions of good jobs and help businesses compete…
“It's good that Congress was able to at least fund transportation projects for a few more months before leaving town -- although it falls far short of the kind of infrastructure effort that we need that would actually accelerate the economy. But for the most part, the big-ticket items, the things that would really make a difference in the lives of middle-class families, those things just are not getting done.”
2. Middle-class Economic Security: “I've been advocating on behalf of raising the minimum wage, making it easier for working folks to pay off their student loans; fair pay, paid leave. All these policies have two things in common: All of them would help working families feel more stable and secure, and all of them so far have been blocked or ignored by Republicans in Congress…
“A student loan bill that would help folks who have student loan debt consolidate and refinance at lower rates -- that didn’t pass. The transportation bill that they did pass just gets us through the spring, when we should actually be planning years in advance. States and businesses are raising the minimum wage for their workers because this Congress is failing to do so.”
3. Immigration and Border Crisis: “We all agree that there’s a problem that needs to be solved in a portion of our southern border. And we even agree on most of the solutions. But instead of working together -- instead of focusing on the 80 percent where there is agreement between Democrats and Republicans, between the administration and Congress -- House Republicans, as we speak, are trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable versions of a bill that they already know is going nowhere, that can't pass the Senate and that if it were to pass the Senate I would veto. They know it…
“A bipartisan bill passed out of the Senate, co-sponsored by not just Democrats but some very conservative Republicans who recognize that the system currently is broken and if, in fact we put more resources on the border, provide a path in which those undocumented workers who’ve been living here for a long time and may have ties here are coming out of the shadows, paying their taxes, paying a fine, learning English -- if we fix the legal immigration system so it’s more efficient, if we are attracting young people who may have studied here to stay here and create jobs here, that that all is going to be good for the economy, it’s going to reduce the deficit, it might have forestalled some of the problems that we’re seeing now in the Rio Grande Valley with these unaccompanied children.