Extortion noun the practice of obtaining something, esp. money, through force or threats.
House Republicans, having balked at paying for what Congress previously authorized to be spent and threatening for the first time in two centuries not to stand behind our nations debts, are making a hash out of something they have little experience in, that is to say, legislative governance by extortion. We can tell this because they have been consistently inconsistent. Back in 2011 they brokered the sequester, something to his great regret the president agreed to. The result was the meat-axe approach to budgeting.
Shall we review the record?
At first they wanted a whole laundry list of things:
Approval of the Keystone pipeline.
Looser limits on carbon emissions.
Partial defunding of the finance reform law.
Defund entirely the Affordable Care Act (with no replacement suggested).
That didn’t go over all that well, especially the part about gutting the ACA which was fairly passed by Congress, signed and approved by the president, reviewed and approved by the Supreme Court, and affirmed by a solid majority of the citizenry as a central issue in a presidential election. When those demands failed to produce results they switched to piecemeal legislation to restart the more visible parts of the shutdown, including certain national parks, air controllers who by their absence were inconveniencing, uh, them, and, ineptly, the military who are still fighting a war. Oh, and they wanted repeal of the medical devices tax. Result? Paying federal workers not to work.
Result? Paying federal workers not to work. (Wait, isn’t that what conservatives hate about welfare?)
Not content with releasing hostages a few at a time, the GOP now seems intent on broader demands such as entitlement cuts and tax reform, all the while complaining that the president refuses to “negotiate” and set a precedent that would hamstring the executive branch for the foreseeable future and leave no settled law secure from future extortion.
The president has proclaimed he is ready to discuss everything, but not under threat of extortion. The votes are clearly there in the House to support a clean CR, but it is the GOP, not the president who won’t negotiate. If they don’t get what they want, they will kill the economy and some in the Tea Party seem almost gleeful at the prospect.
In a way it’s something of a relief that they aren’t better at what they’re doing.
- Dear President Obama: don’t cave to the GOP’s extortion politics | Michael Cohen (theguardian.com)
- The Republican Party’s dereliction of duty (underthemountainbunker.com)