By Shane Larson, Washington, DC -- December 9, 2010:
Today, we were added to a growing list of groups that have seen their fight for progress and hope destroyed by the Republican Senators obsession with tax cuts for millionaires.
In a week, the Republican have filibustered the motion to proceed to debate on critical bills. That is, they have blocked the Senate from even debating the issues on a number of important bills all in a childish effort to ensure that their base - millionaires and corporate interests - get a tax cut.
This week, besides seeing them block progress on repeal of DADT, through abuse of the filibuster process, we have seen them:
- deny debate on a bill that would provide health care and compensation for the rescue workers on 9-11
- deny basic and fundamental collective bargaining and workplace rights for public safety officers (firefighters, police officers emts, prison guards, etc)
- deny debate or consideration of the DREAM Act - which would provide a pathway for citizenship for children of illegal immigrants who came here through no fault of their own and have attended college or served in the armed forces.
- denied a one time cost of living payment of $250 for social security recipients whose COLA will not go up next year, but whose basic costs will.
- and previously denied debate or consideration of the Fair Pay Act, which would address pay disparity in the workforce for women.
None of this was because of the President. None of this was because of Senate Democratic Leadership. All of this was because of the abuse of Senate rules by a radical and obstinate Republican Party. And all of them were held up for one reason - because all 42 of the Republican Senators believe that it is much more important for this country to pass tax cuts for millionaires. The same Senate rules that prevent passage of Unemployment assistance for those struggling now for 99 + weeks to find work. The same Senate rules that allow this radical Republican minority to prevent tax cuts for the middle class to continue unless millionaires get one too.
This past week should make it clear that these Senate Republicans have the power and ability to hold up anything until they get their tax cuts. And they have no shame, no morals, nor no hesitation to stop everything until they get what they want.
Blame can be thrown around. But the reality is that the current antiquated, outdated and never intended to be used this way Senate rules are what is preventing our democracy from functioning and serving those that it should. Its given power to a group of dedicated and shameless partisans and special interests who will stop at nothing until they get everything they want and halt all progress.