After winning over Congress in the midterm elections, Republicans said they understood that the American people want jobs. Since the midterm election, the Lame Duck session and the swearing in of the new 112th Congress on January 5, 2011, there has not been one single jobs bill to be introduced by our new Republican Congress. Instead, the Republican Congress has been busy introducing bills to end health care reform, end health insurance for pre-existing conditions, and change the definition of rape and other unrelated job measures. From the beginning, Republican legislators made clear that they went to Washington to undo things instead of going to do things.
Back when the Republicans were campaigning, they constantly talked about jobs, jobs and jobs. But, since starting on January 5, 2011, the Republicans have done nothing to create jobs. Republicans held votes on 11 bills and not a single one of those votes created a single job for a single American. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared on February 12, 2011 that President Obama’s legislative agenda is “over” but said the GOP is willing to work to do what they “think is right for America.” With no jobs on their agenda, so far, it appears that Republicans must now think jobs are wrong for Americans.
Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn ( D. SC) says:
“I come from a district and a state where unemployment is unacceptably high and too many people have been out of work for much too long. I honestly wish the Republican majority would focus on commonsense, pragmatic ways to create American jobs. If they decide to do this, they will find me a willing partner. But let’s stop these shenanigans like we’re seeing today.”
Last week, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ( “DCCC”) started the website WhenAreTheJobs.com to count the days that are running without a jobs bill being introduced. And last week, Republicans introduced a spending bill that would reduce the number of police on the streets. That eliminates jobs instead of creating them. On February 15, House Speaker John Boehner said that if jobs are lost as a result of GOP spending cuts, “so be it”. That pretty much sums up the GOP position on jobs. The new Republican Congress has also focused on an extreme anti-choice agenda. They have gone from trying to re-define rape to allowing hospitals to refuse abortion care to women who will die without it. Politicians want to make government smaller by making it ”just small enough to fit inside our bedrooms and our medicine cabinets” says NARAL Pro Choice America President Keenan. So bottom line is the Republicans, who campaigned on jobs and keeping government smaller, are failing to live up to their promise.
Everyday citizens cannot just stand idly by waiting for our lawmakers to introduce jobs. We have a democracy and must work towards making it work for Americans. There is no greater priority than getting Americans back to work. We are still a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We must be the change that we want.
On the issue of jobs, we should be non-partisan and united together. That’s the lesson of the Egyptian revolution. In the words of one online comment, we need to be out on the streets and not return until we get our legislators to address jobs. We need to be the Egyptians now right here in the United States. Progressives held the One Nation rally for jobs and education in October, 2010 and then quietly went home. Jon Stewart held the nonpolitical Rally for Sanity. We need an organized and peaceful rally focused on the jobs issue. Then, we need to take it to the airwaves, the Internet and our legislators’ offices on Capitol Hill. We have democracy and freedom of speech and peaceful assembly, yet some now take it for granted. Many Americans have become passive in their civic engagement. With peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and televised coverage, Dr. Martin Luther King and civil rights supporters helped to bring about the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Now more than ever, we need to take action to bring about the jobs and social change we need.
Debbie Hines is a lawyer and legal/political commentator. She also writes for the Huffington Post. She is frequently seen in the media speaking on race and gender in law and politics. She holds a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.