On Tuesday night in his State of the Union Address in the Capitol Building in front of the United States Congress, invited guests and the American people, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke on a multitude of issues facing our nation. However, the issue that he made his number one priority at the very start of his speech was the state of our economy and the impending sequester of cuts in both social programs as well as in defense spending which if enacted could send our slowly growing economy into recession.
Yet, unconcerned about the hardship and suffering which the sequester would bring to millions of Americans, the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, rather than stay in Washington D.C. throughout February in order to work on a solution, have instead chosen to recess after Friday, not to return to the nation’s capital until the evening of February 25. This would give them only three days upon their return to Washington D.C. to help the Senate find a solution to the sequestered spending cuts before they take effect on Friday, March 1.
According to Politico, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner even stated plainly Wednesday morning at a news conference at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. that the republican leadership in the House will not work on a plan to resolve the sequester, but will await the upcoming solution from the U.S. Senate.
On Tuesday CBS News reported that senate democrats have been working on a sequester solution which they plan to unveil on Thursday.
Unfortunately, even with a valid and fair proposal from democratic senators, republicans in congress are unlikely to back the bill. President Obama and democrats in congress support a balanced approach in deficit reduction with both spending cuts and revenue increases through the removal of unfair tax loopholes for the wealthy and corporations. Meanwhile, republicans support only more severe spending cuts and are opposed to the removal of unfair tax loopholes, despite supporting these very same tax reform initiatives less than two months ago.
In addition, the effects of the draconian spending cuts proposed by republicans would most likely mirror those previously enacted throughout the Europe. Such austerity measures have impaired GDP growth in many European nations, driving many nations back into recession.
With the economy hanging in the balance, it is highly irresponsible for House republicans to take a 10-day leave from their duties in Washington D.C. at such a critical time. In fact, unless republicans have decided upon their return to automatically vote in favor of the Senate’s proposal, their actions are a clear dereliction of duty to the American people.