The Republicans gained a majority in the House in the last election and are now beginning to work on their priorities. What are we seeing so far?
1. A PR stunt of a vote to repeal health care reform - something they knew would never actually happen, but made a lot of noise.
2. A lot of talk about the deficit and how they are going to push for cuts in spending. Two problems with this: first of all, they can't agree on where to cut and secondly, they seem to be trying to make the case that it was government spending that created our financial crisis. Or at least that reducing spending will solve it. The truth is that - in some ways - the increase in the deficit is a result of the crisis, not the cause. Spending is down and so tax receipts are down. This is basic econ. And reducing government spending even further will only mean fewer jobs and less spending by those who loose them. Government debt is only a problem when it drives up interest rates. That's not happening now. It will certainly happen in the future if we don't make some changes. But the current issue is jobs...not inflation or interest rates.
3. An attempt to re-define rape and restrict access to abortions.
Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.
For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.
With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to "forcible rape." This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion.
As odious as this last one is, I'll leave commentary on that one to another day. The point is...where's the plan on how to address the number one issue affecting Americans and our economy?