[h/t Heather at VideoCafe]
President Obama just ratcheted up the pressure on Congress following his meeting with all four leaders today at the White House. Even as he allowed Senators Reid and McConnell to work on a larger package, he made it clear that he expected action with respect to the middle class, and sooner rather than later. From the speech:
But if an agreement isn’t reached in time between Senator Reid and Senator McConnell, then I will urge Senator Reid to bring to the floor a basic package for an up-or-down vote –- one that protects the middle class from an income tax hike, extends the vital lifeline of unemployment insurance to two million Americans looking for a job, and lays the groundwork for future cooperation on more economic growth and deficit reduction.
This is all fine and well, but that last sentence about groundwork concerns me, because this is what always happens. They put the bandaid on the gaping wound and then let it fester for another couple of months or years, or whatever. It stops the bleeding but does nothing to heal the cut. Evidently the President agrees. He closed with this:
I just have to repeat -- outside of Washington, nobody understands how it is that this seems to be a repeat pattern over and over again. Ordinary folks, they do their jobs. They meet deadlines. They sit down and they discuss things, and then things happen. If there are disagreements, they sort through the disagreements. The notion that our elected leadership can't do the same thing is mind-boggling to them. It needs to stop.
I could not agree more. I am so tired of the constant clock-running only to put on a mere promise of something more permanent in the future. Republicans don't want to do a deal because that takes away all of their talking points about how Democrats borrow and spend (and tax). Without those talking points, without wars, without the dire talk of austerity and a different kind of American economy, what will they talk about?
This American is sick and tired of the constant gamesmanship. Serious people get serious things done. People playing BS games to score points and have something to talk about are unworthy of the office they hold. Unfortunately, until we can toss enough of the extremists out of office, we're stuck with it.