Tonight the President will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress, and discuss his “Blueprint for an America Built to Last,” a plan that will emphasize four pillars to support economic revitalization: American values, American manufacturing, American energy and skills for American workers. These pillars line up with House Democrats’ Make It In America plan, which aims to support job creation by cultivating an encouraging environment for businesses to innovate and make products here in the U.S.
Democrats are focused on getting Americans back to work and have put forward a plan. But despite promises to focus on job creation, Republicans have fallen short. After a year in the majority, they still have not put forward a comprehensive jobs plan and have refused to vote on the American Jobs Act or bring Make It In America bills to the Floor.
What have Republicans done in the past year since the last State of the Union? Some lowlights from their partisan agenda:
- Voting several times for a budget that ends Medicare and would likely cut jobs, due to the deep cuts in investments in areas like infrastructure and education.
- Undermining critical consumer protections, leaving consumers and the U.S. financial system vulnerable to the risks that led to the 2008 financial crisis and resulted in record job loss.
- Attempting to repeal patient protections and putting insurance companies back in control of health care – which has no impact on jobs.
- Attempting to restrict women’s health care access – which has nothing to do with jobs.
- Preserving unnecessary subsidies for oil companies making near record profits.
- Rolling back critical environmental protections – which economists say will not create jobs.
This ideological agenda has resulted in a Do-Nothing Congress – one of the most unproductive Congresses in recent memory – and has left House Republicans divided:
“After a brutal year filled with infighting and legislative crises, the Republican majority has a simpler goal for the rest of this year: stay unified and tranquil during a presidential election year and avoid the battles that reveal the divides within their own party… The fact that they’re coalescing around a fresh set of principles shows that leaders are aware of the discontent in the conference and recognize that a fresh start is necessary to maintain their majority. It’s an attempt to scuttle the sense of crisis and improvisation that was the backdrop to governing in 2011.” [Politico, 1/22/12]
And a recent poll shows Americans are frustrated with the GOP’s Do-Nothing Congress and their ideological stance:
“In the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, 60 percent say Mr. Obama is attempting to work with Congressional Republicans to try to accomplish something; 27 percent say Republicans in Congress are making the same effort to work things out with the president. There is strong public support for politicians to start cooperating. At least 80 percent – regardless of party identification – say Republicans and Democrats should compromise some of their positions in order to get things done.” [NY Times, 1/18/12]
It’s time for Republicans to listen to the American people, abandon partisanship, and get serious about working with Democrats on our most pressing challenges.
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