>GOP Songs Being Sung Off Key: Rhetoric Doesn’t Match Congressional Action

>There are some melodies the Republicans have been singing during campaign season, but the lyrics don’t match with the notes. Nevada voters have been regaled with various versions of how the GOP is the party protecting the interests of small business, and the party aligned with the needs for U.S. border security. The problem is — their votes don’t match their rhetoric.

Myth: The GOP is the party protecting the interests of small businesses
Fact: That’s not the way they’ve been voting. Examples:

(1) When the health care reform legislation offered tax credits of up to 35% for small business owners who had 25 or fewer employees — the Republicans voted against it. [roll call 105]

(2) Small businesses were estimated to find savings of about 4% as a result of passage of the health care reform bill, or a total of approximately $10 billion nationwide — the Republicans voted against it. [roll call 105]

(3) Senate Republicans are filibustering H.R. 5297, the Small Business Tax Credit and Jobs bill. The bill provides a $30 billion funding facility for small business loans to be offered primarily by community and other smaller banks. The bill would also decrease the tax liability for those who invest in start up businesses, increasing the deduction from $5,000 to $20,000. There is also a provision to cut capital gains taxes for small business investment. [CRS] We can know that GOP opposition is skewed towards large multi-national corporations because their objection to the bill is based on the increased penalties for failing to disclose corporate reportable transactions.

(4) Republicans opposed H.R. 2847 because it was “too expensive,” although the bill contained funding for construction, infrastructure, and other technological projects that would help contractors and subcontractors. Included in the bill was funding for $384 million in Small Business Administration loans. Senator John Ensign (R-NV) was one of the 28 members of the Senate voting against the measure. Only 2 Democrats voted against it. [roll call 340]

Myth: The Republican Party is interested in protecting the U.S. southern border.
Fact: But, not if it involves actually voting to spend money for the projects.

In June, 2010, the Obama Administration requested $600 million to fund the hiring of 1,000 border patrol agents, purchase two drones, and to enhance border security. [LAT] The House of Representatives passed an increase of $100 million, but by the time the bill reached the Senate the number had decreased to a $500 million request. [NDN] H.R. 4899 came up for a vote to break the Republican filibuster on July 22, 2010. A cloture vote failed 46-51. [roll call 219] Senator John Ensign (R-NV) voted to sustain the filibuster, Senator Harry Reid voted to invoke cloture. The measure finally passed, without the House amendment, on July 27, 2010 in the House. [roll call 474] Chapter 6 of the bill passed without the emergency supplemental funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s border security hiring and project needs. [CRS] [text]

The funding for the protection of the U.S. southern border finally passed, during a special session of the Senate called back for the purpose of addressing the issue — with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) taking the floor to explain the necessity of passing a new version of the funding bill, H.R. 6080. Senator Schumer asked for, and received, “no objections” to his motion to consider the bill as read, passed, and any motion to reconsider laid upon the table. [Senate, pdf] The GOP filibuster failed, not with a bang, and nearly without even a whimper.

Myth: The GOP supports the troops.
Fact: But, not if that means supporting them financially.

In May 2010, the House Armed Services Committee voted to approve pay increases for members of the U.S. Armed Forces by 1.9%. The proposal met with Republican opposition: “Support for one more bump in military pay was unanimous on the 14-member subcommittee. Rep. Joe Wilson, S.C., ranking Republican, said “growing opposition” to adding an extra half percent “on the assertion that military pay now exceeds that of comparable civilian jobs.” [SVH] Proponents of the pay increases responded that it would be very difficult to find comparable job descriptions in civilian employment.

H.R. 5163, the National Defense Authorization Act FY 2011, passed the House on May 28, on a 229-186 vote, with Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV2) voting against it. Representatives Titus (D-NV3) and Berkley (D-NV1) voted in favor of the bill. [roll call 336]

H.R. 5163 has been received by the U.S. Senate, and placed on the calendar as of June 28, 2010. Title VI of the bill includes the provision for 1.9% increase in the rates of basic pay for military personnel. The Senate Armed Services Committee conducted a Mark Up session on the bill on May 28, 2010 preliminarily reporting the bill out of committee with a favorable vote, 18-10; the ten opponents being the Republican members of the committee. [ASC. pdf] GOP opposition in the committee appeared to center on the DADT provisions, although notably the 1.9% increase had been pared down to the Administration’s previous request for 1.4%. [ASC, pdf] Evidently, Republicans, those sharing the sentiments of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) had their way, finding that half percent increase in basic pay rates “too expensive.” The narrative of this bill’s progress thus far should incorporate the fact that it was House Democrats who were determined to increase the take home pay of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines by that extra 1/2 percent — not the members of the Republican caucuses.

Since Senate Republicans have filibustered 117 bills thus far during the 111th Session of Congress, and forced 68 cloture votes to date, it doesn’t stretch the imagination too far to assume that the Senate GOP will filibuster the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 5173, as well.

It might be a good thing if we could support the pay rate appropriations such that Item 2010A, of the FY 2010 Pentagon Budget (pdf) could be eliminated; that’s the Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance — or Food Stamps for military families. Perhaps a member of the GOP caucuses would care to explain why we have ANY military families qualifying for food stamps?

1 Comment

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One response to “>GOP Songs Being Sung Off Key: Rhetoric Doesn’t Match Congressional Action

  1. >Excellent research and legwork on this one. I congratulate you.The GOP has never supported anything that required any sacrifice – or didn't enrich a constituent.