His latest proposals are simply recycling ideas “that failed to work in the past,” Williams said.
Republican leaders and aides have bristled at the idea that they haven’t worked with the president. They point to an assortment of items Obama has asked for and Congress has delivered, including the extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, trade agreements, patent reform, a Federal Aviation Administration bill, a highway bill, student loans and a veterans jobs bill, among others.
But those still amount to fairly small potatoes relative to the hundreds of billions of dollars in spending and tax cut stimulus proposals that the GOP has blocked. (The White House Office of Management and Budget last week lowered its expectation of this year’s deficit by more than $100 billion to $1.2 trillion, citing Congress’ decision to block Obama’s initiatives.)
The GOP has also complained that Obama and Senate Democrats have ignored Republican jobs measures — many of which would roll back regulations the Obama administration has put into place — and have given up on the basics of governing, such as passing a budget or appropriations bills.
“At this point in past presidential election years, the Senate is diligently working on things like appropriations bills or the defense authorization bill,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said today. “Not this Senate. Not this year. Our Democratic colleagues refuse to do the basic work of government.” McConnell made those comments in the same speech in which he exhorted Republicans to filibuster an Oklahoma Circuit Court nominee because confirming the judge would violate a partisan rule — used by both parties — designed to block judicial appointments within six months of a presidential election.
McConnell has also repeatedly accused Obama of not working with Republicans so he has somebody to run against and blame for the economy.
“Right now, President Obama has no ‘jobs agenda’ other than a small-business tax hike that would cost 700,000 jobs,” a House GOP leadership aide said. “I’d wager a shiny nickel that even Jay Carney doesn’t remember what’s on the ‘to-do list’ at this point.”
For the White House, the inability of Congress to act to tackle fiscal issues such as taxes, the debt limit and the defecit is another example of the Congressional GOP ducking its responsibilities and playing chicken at the behest of the rich. The president would be happy to talk when the GOP is willing to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires,” White House aides have repeatedly suggested.
“Thus far Republicans have made protecting the tax benefits of millionaires and billionaires the top priority,” Earnest said. “That’s what’s stood in the way.”
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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