Seriously? Boehner scores a zero

Trice Edney Newswire | 9/5/2013, midnight
House Speaker John Boehner.

The current tracking of Congress’ popularity shows that only 15 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. Now, House Speaker John Boehner struck another tone-deaf moment at a political fundraiser in Idaho when he warned that when Congress returns in September, he will lead Republicans in holding up the government’s business to pick a fight with President Barack Obama over the nation’s debt ceiling.

More than 11.5 million Americans are out actively looking for work, while the economy languishes with 2 million fewer jobs than at the end of 2007—more than five and a half years ago. Median family income remains thousands of dollars below the level it reached in 2007. And thousands of America’s workers are staging strikes this week to raise their low-wage pay to something respectable. Americans want more jobs and a raise in pay now. How does a showdown on the integrity of the United States of America and paying its bills help address jobs and pay now? They don’t.

The United States’ credibility rests firmly on a decision made at its founding that the debt of the young, fledgling country was good. The country has never looked back and remains the most sought-after currency because the word of the United States is as good as gold; it will pay its debts.

Today, the economy stands more than $652 billion above its peak in 2007. The federal budget deficit as a share of the economy has shrunk in half since 2008. And, this year, the deficit is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to shrink by 40 percent from last year. So, there is no need to debate the obligation of Congress to quickly pass legislation to insure the United States lives up to its word and continues to pay its bills.

What Boehner risks is more discussion of downgrading the credit worthiness of the United States, and adding too much uncertainty to a world economy that is already nervous. And, what he is proposing is to waste the time of Congress debating the honor of the United States, rather than addressing restoring the almost 330,000 local educators lost to our children’s public schools because of this economic downturn.

In fact, given the effect that sequestration is having on Americans, in light of the data coming in, Congress should be passing legislation to end sequestration now. For the thousands of struggling Americans looking for work, it is more important to restore their unemployment benefits.

For the thousands of children being shut out of Head Start programs, building their foundation for learning and America’s prosperity it is more important to restore their Head Start program slots.

Boehner has made it clear. If there is a wasteful debate on raising the debt ceiling, it will be the Republicans in the House of Representatives who will initiate it and drag it on. Obviously, he will not rest until his actions lead to crippling the American economy and a chance to blame President Obama for a failing economy. He is instead making it clear to the 77 percent of Americans who disapprove of the job he and Congress are doing, that it is time for his leadership to end, and to send him home in 2014.