COMMENTARY | Under intense pressure and scrutiny, the Republicans of the House of Representatives finally agreed to a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, as announced by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who went as far as to say, as reported by CNN, “… [W]hy not do the right thing for the American people even if it’s not exactly what we want.”
How very magnanimous.
When we shorten the word “Representative,” as we often do while discussing the news, it becomes a mere thoughtless salutation, like “Mr.” or “Ms.” It is not a salutation.
By doing the people’s business, Rep. Boehner is not doing us [a] favor, as he seems to imply. He is doing his job. In fact, he is doing the bare minimum required by his job, the kind of performance that hardly merits a positive performance review, let alone a gold star.
Congress has thrown us a crumb. A tiny, tiny crumb from a giant bakery of issues, and we, as a nation, deserve more. In two months, I promise there will be more to-ing and fro-ing, more debate over the payroll tax cut. Meanwhile, this same Congress has passed the chilling National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as described by Forbes, which authorizes the U.S. military to act on U.S. soil, while also allowing indefinite detention of people without due process — possibly U.S. citizens — regardless of what roughly half the amendments in the Bill of Rights have to say on the matter. They may have passed the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which, as The Business Insider explains, would literally change the face of the internet and access to information.
Though the bill was passed in 2010, we cannot have the health care that was promised to us, and instead, thanks to congressional wrangling, must wait for the Supreme Court to decide our access to medical care. This Congress has passed the fewest number of bills of any Congress in 10 years, according to the Atlantic Wire.
We elect our Representatives as stand-ins for us, to speak for us, to be our voice. That Representative is not doing a favor, is not throwing a bone, is not going out of his way when that Representative does what the people have asked him do. And he is certainly doing no favor when it comes as the result of irresistible pressure from all sides, pressure, that, in the end, even came from bewildered members of his own party.
Do not be fooled by the claim that Rep. Boehner wanted a year-long extension of the payroll tax. The only reason he wanted a year was because the Senate passed a bill that would conflict. If the two Houses can’t agree, there is no law; it would be a way to sabotage the tax cut while leaving room to point the finger.
Well, America, we didn’t let him do it with this small thing, and congratulations to us on that. Now let’s move on to the big issue: once again making our Representatives representative.