Now that the Republicans have taken over leadership of the U.S. House, one would expect them to put forth a positive agenda for change. Instead, they offer nothing but to undo what the Democrats have done, even against their own ground rules.
It is a strange government we have, when one party legislates what it believes is best for the country, and then the other party negates what the first party did. And once the public realizes the folly of its mistake, it will elect the first party again to reinstall what the second party undid. And so the cycle goes.
The Democratic-led U.S. House and U.S. Senate enacted broad, sweeping legislation to regulate Wall Street so a financial collapse such that brought us the Great Recession doesn't happen again, reformed health care to extend health insurance to millions and, among other things, enacted major food safety reforms not seen in nearly a century.
Now Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is authoring legislation to repeal the Wall Street reform and the chairman of an ag subcommittee wants to investigate the Food and Drug Administration and bottle up the $1.3 billion needed to enact food safety reforms.
Worse, Republican House leadership has set next week for a floor vote to repeal last year's health reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act, bypassing the GOP's own stated rules that all measures be transparent and receive full committee hearings.
It's the same measure that extends health insurance to many Americans who cannot now afford it and must seek health care in hospital emergency rooms, which allows parents to cover their children until age 26 and which bans insurance companies from excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions. It also provides free preventive health care to seniors and lower cost prescription drug coverage. It gives small businesses tax credits to supply health care coverage to employees. The bill is estimated to save $1 trillion over 10 years, while the Congressional Budget Office said repealing health care reform would add $230 billion to the federal budget.
It's also an exercise in futility as the repeal passed in the House has virtually no chance in the Democrat-held Senate, and even if so, it would be vetoed by President Obama.
So what is the GOP plan? Let Wall Street CEOs do what they want with the economy, let the American people fend for themselves in food safety and continue to let health care access slide away from the American public?
Then, in 2012, there will be a lot of one-term Republicans and it's back to Square One. That's not good public policy.