Fresh off of her 10 day recess, Democratic leader of the House Nancy Pelosi wasted no time in blasting her Republican counterpart (John Boehner) for his inability to lead the House and by default the American people. In interviews and her press release Feb. 26, 2013 she made it abundantly clear that if the Sequester is not avoided the blame for it will lay solely at the Speaker of the House's feet.
Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) offered a proposal to the Speaker in a last minute attempt to avoid Sequestration but as usual the proposal went nowhere. Van Hollen in an appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday night, Feb 26, 2013 where he adamantly iterated that, "if the proposal had come up for a vote it would have passed."
Nancy Pelosi who herself served as Speaker of the House under both the Bush and the Obama Administrations is well versed in the parliamentary procedures of the House. She stated that it's the Speaker who makes the schedule. She went on to say that he has control over what comes before the House for a vote. To take a recess for 10 days without solving this manufactured crisis is akin to (in her words), "Becoming a drive-by Congress."
“ We've just come back from – what – a ten day break. We've listened to Members as to what they heard from the public, and what our constituents are telling us is to get the job done. We are doing just that with a proposal under the leadership of Chris Van Hollen, our ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee. He’ll talk about our proposal, which we have had on the table for a while. Our Chairman talked about jobs. Month after month after month of private sector job increases, remarkable, that can, that can be reversed if we have this sequester; which is harmful to growth and harmful to job creation, in addition to being harmful – for example, Members told me about psychiatric nurses who deal with PTSD of our returning vets, who will be furloughed. Is that what the American people want? I don’t think so.
“We’re practically – when you talk about jobs, that’s one thing. We talk about time, we've been gone for ten days, we come back, we’ll be gone by Thursday at three o’clock when we have a deadline facing us. We’re practically becoming a drive-by Congress, a drive-by Congress, when we have important work to do. The Republican leadership says: ‘Well, we passed bills last year.’ I remind them that was a different Congress, that doesn't count in this Congress. The Republican leadership says: ‘Let the Senate begin.’ I remind them that the Constitution says that appropriations and revenue bills must begin in the House.
“So, we have important work to do, the American people want us to work together, we want something big, bold, balanced and bipartisan that can take us – Republicans say: ‘they’re kicking the can down the road,’ it’s not kick – I don’t think they’re even kicking the can down the road, I think they are nudging the potato across the table with their nose. There’s not much that is being accomplished by what they are doing. This is just completely irresponsible, it’s mindless, most people don’t even know what the word sequester means; sequestration equals unemployment. Sequestration – we don’t want it, and we can work here to make sure we get the job done."
With only one day left before mandatory cuts are to take effect, it's very doubtful that any meaningful solution will be accomplished. What started out as a great idea to force the Congress to act with ample time to do so, has turned into something that no one could have imagined. The question was asked by Ed Schultz of the ED Show on MSNBC, "Do the Republicans hate Obama so much that they would put the country through this to get at him?" History is an excellent teacher and only history can determine the motives of the Republican Party.
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