President Obama was greeted this morning with a scathing fact check calling him out for another one of his ridiculous claims. The Washington Post took Obama to task for claiming “Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.”
“But, let’s face it, the Republicans have their own list of bills passed in the House but which have failed to progress in the Senate, which they also claim are serious and enjoy popular support. For instance, one pending bill would approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found is supported by Americans by a 3 to 1 margin. The House list, displayed on Boehner’s Web site, includes nearly 50 bills, of which only a handful have been signed by the president into law.”
Instead of getting the Democrat controlled Senate to act on the 285 House passed bills, President Obama continues to treat the presidency as a spectator sport.
If the Fundraiser-in-Chief were to stay in Washington, DC, he would notice that several of the House passed bills will help strengthen the middle class. For example, last week the Republican controlled House passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which will create job training programs emphasizing on education and training.
The NRCC cites the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The Washington Post cites two more examples, The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) and The Farm Bill, as serious efforts not blocked by Republicans. WaPo awarded the President three Pinocchios. Was this justified?
- The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R.803), after a compromise with the Senate, reauthorized existing law with changes; it funds job training program which might not meet the standard for a serious idea to strengthen the middle class.
- The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) may have been a serious idea, but it isn’t a new one. The 2014 version which extends existing law passed after a compromise was reached with the Senate on revisions to existing law.
- The Farm Bill certainly is serious, and it was blocked for years by Republicans and nearly derailed by the effort to defund SNAP.
By claiming that “Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class,” President Obama left himself open to criticism. He might better have said “almost every idea.” Still I would rate his statement “mostly true.” Can we expect no more from Republicans than they not block every serious idea to strengthen the middle class? That is a very low standard; Americans deserve far more from Congress than that.
© William Hungerford – July 2014