If asked to share a profound lesson in politics it would be “watch what a person “does” before testifying to what they "say”. If the two don’t align then the assumption is something’s not adding up and the elected official should be held accountable. After all two plus two always equals four, if not educators have a lot of explaining to do (smile). My point is, for the past two terms Democrats have continuously campaigned on job creation and issues that support the middle class. Therefore, it’s safe to conclude once in office or reelected, the American people should expect to see policies that support those claims right? Absolutely, and for the most part while Democrats held control over the Senate and House of Representatives the American people would say they did. For example, to their credit they passed the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and repeatedly passed legislation to increase funding for student financial aid/ Pell Grants program.
The Republican’s have also campaigned on job creation which they have equated to approximately 54 attempts to repeal/defund the Affordable Care Act, unwavering grid lock in Congress for six years, passed restrictive voting laws that the VRA had previously blocked in states with large minority populations, and yet to their credit winning full control of the House and Senate. As a matter of fact some GOP members have even jumped on the 2016 campaign ban wagon promising to implement policies that support the middle class. Fantastic right!! Absolutely, if what they say aligns with their actions. Two months into the 113th Congress, let’s review how they are faring on a few key policies.
Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
On July 21, 2010, the president signed into law the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Section 716 of this act requires that some derivative transactions be “pushed-out” from the part of banks that have deposit insurance (run by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) and other forms of backstop (provided by the Federal Reserve) - essentially forcing big banks to keep their derivatives business somewhat separated from their insured deposits. Derivatives are used by firms to hedge or speculate on everything from bumps in interest rates to the cost of fuel, stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies and market indexes. Similarly, to insure taxpayers aren’t on the hook if trades go bad as they did in the 2008 financial crisis, the act requires banks to conduct their riskiest trading with money that is not insured by the government.
Banks, such as JP Morgan Chase and Citicorp have lobbied Congress to appeal the rule since the onset of Dodd-Frank. As a result, their efforts received a breakthrough when Republicans gained full control over the House and Senate to which they slipped a provision in the 2015 “appropriations bill” that repeals the “push out” requirement. The bill was signed into law and according to Mother Jones appears to be only the beginning efforts to dismantling Dodd Frank. According to Mother Jones “Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), introduced a bill called the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act, but its name obscures what it would actually do. The legislation is a compilation of deregulatory bills that failed to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate in the last Congress. It would alter nearly a dozen provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, loosening regulation of Wall Street banks” to include (1) Delay the Volcker rule (2) Water down rules on private equity firms (3) Loosen regulations on derivatives (4) Weaken transparency rules. Click here to assess Mother Jone’s link that details what the bill would do. Although the president would never sign such a bill, this clearly demonstrates whose side the GOP represents.
Affordable Care Act
It should be of no surprise that the House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act on February 3, 2015. The bill passed on 239-186 vote and most likely only the beginning attempts to introduce legislation that will change or undo parts if not all of the Affordable Care Act. The legislation will go next to the Republican-controlled Senate, but even so President Obama has threatened to veto the legislation. It will be interesting to see how this develops given the fact on February 17, 2015 Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health & Human Services announced 11.4 million Americans have signed up for or re-enrolled for affordable health insurance.
Due immigration policy disagreements the Republicans have refused to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Although the deadline of February 27, 2015 they still do not appear to be acting with urgency nor have they introduced immigration reform bills that would address the undocumented immigrant population. It will be interesting to see how this develops given the fact on February 17, 2015 a Texas federal judge blocked President Obama’s immigration action a day before it was to go into effect.
The American people are not quite sure how the Republican actions thus far support the middle class or jobs, but remain optimistic that GOP will hold true to it promises.