The Boehner bottleneck

President Obama hit the Sunday talk show circuit this morning, finally, to heap pressure or blame on the GOP for jacking the nation. Just thinking how the Will of the People is being held up by one over pampered spoiled prick is enough to make me give up on our version of democracy:

HuffPo — In a blunt challenge to Republicans, Obama said that barring a bipartisan agreement, he expected both houses to vote on his own proposal to block tax increases on all but the wealthy and simultaneously preserve expiring unemployment benefits.

Political calculations mattered as much as deep-seated differences over the issues, as divided government struggled with its first big challenge since the November elections.

Speaker John Boehner remained at arms-length, juggling a desire to avoid the fiscal cliff with his goal of winning another term as speaker when a new Congress convenes next Thursday. Any compromise legislation is certain to include higher tax rates on the wealthy, and the House GOP rank and file rejected the idea when he presented it to them as part of a final attempt to strike a more sweeping agreement with Obama.

That’s what it boils down to. Boehner could bypass the teatard faction and hold a vote today on a bill already passed in the Senate that would alleviate the worst pain soon to be felt by millions of struggling middle class families. Odds are it would pass as is with nearly unamimous democratic support and a few dozen republican votes. But no, the prospect of a tiny tax increase on a relative handful of the wealthiest Americans, who by any measure are the only ones making any headway on the heels of the Great Recession still plaguing everyone else, and Boehner’s personal raw ambition for power, are more important to this assclown than the nation he swore an oath to his God to protect. Enjoying a quarter million plus income, top notch paid staff, and the most generous pension and healthcare benefits this side of Wall Street just isn’t enough. What a total fucking dick.


  1. machintelligence says

    I’m not sure that Mr. Boehner is running the show. He wanted to have the house vote on his “plan B” but they adjourned instead. It may well be that the current crop of Republicans will not vote for any tax increase, but it is time to present a bill and make them vote on it. Conservatives either lack the intelligence to see where we are headed, or the intestinal fortitude to do anything about it.

  2. magistramarla says

    While I hate seeing congress getting a raise, for the rest of the federal workers, it’s about time.
    My husband has had no raises or bonuses for the last three years, thanks to this congress.
    However, he’s still doing the work that keeps the US and our troops safe.
    We’ve also moved temporarily for the job, so we’re paying a mortgage in one state and horrendously high rent in another. The rent, utilities, groceries, etc. have gone up each of those three years, while the pay has not.
    Boehner and his buddies are doing just fine on the taxpayers’ dime, but the federal workers who do the real work are suffering.

  3. Johnny Vector says

    jnorris, you’re very confused. The link you provide is from 2009. The raise congress gets this year is $900 (out of 174K, so about half of one percent). Personally I find it ridiculous that they have to vote NOT to give themselves an increase, but we do ourselves no favors by misrepresenting the level of self-compensation.

    Furthermore, Obama did not have anything to do with that. He can not change the pay of the legislative or judicial branches. He can only change the pay of the executive branch. Which, as magistramarla points out, has been frozen the last three years (two increases skipped). And by the way, that’s not a “raise”, that’s a “cost of living increase”.

    Here’s an up to date story:

  4. says

    @Johnny Vector – “Personally I find it ridiculous that they have to vote NOT to give themselves an increase…”

    You can thank the Republicans for that.

    In 1789, a bill of twelve amendments to the US Constitution was presented to the states. Only ten of them (items 3 – 12) got ratified, becoming the Bill of Rights. Item 2 said that members of Congress could not get a pay raise until there was an intervening election of the House; the idea was that if Congress gave itself a pay raise, the people could vote most of them out of office. Because it had no time limit, this amendment never died. In the 1980s, as part of the Reagan Revolution, Republicans revived the amendment. By the end of 1984, only 11 states had voted to ratify; on May 12, 1992, Illinois became the 41st state to approve it and it was declared ratified as the 27th Amendment.

    Immediately, the Republican Congress passed a law declaring automatic annual pay raises in perpetuity. The requisite election of the House passed, and no other action has been taken. Because the pay raise is not, technically, a spending or appropriations bill, it does not need to be re-passed. Ever.

  5. says

    And my bad again: apparently 102 Congress (before the 1992 election) and the 103 (after the 1992 election) was dominated by Democrats: they are the ones who did the blatant end-run around the Constitution.

  6. Johnny Vector says

    Gregory: Interesting. Although an argument could be made that the district court correctly found that COLAs are not the same as raises.

    Also, I’m seeing a lot of recent news articles that imply that the President does set congressional and judicial salaries, purportedly showing an executive order including these numbers. But since all congress has to do is not vote against their COLA, that is completely out of Obama’s hands.

  7. Johnny Vector says

    D’oh, I was typing and Wikipedia-ing while you entered those last two. I also forgot to include what I meant to say: “I bet the Democrats would have done the same.” And I’m not actually opposed to automatic COLAs in general (assuming they’re tied to CPI, which I think these are).

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