- Times wins two awards from Society for Professional Journalists
- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
MILLER: Boehner’s challenge
113th Congress off to a rocky start
Rep. John A. Boehner was re-elected speaker on Thursday, but his grasp of the oversized gavel is less firm. Nine Republicans abstained or voted to have someone lead the House, unlike two years ago, when the ranks were unified behind him.
Mr. Boehner faces an uphill battle against an intransigent Democratic White House and Senate, but he understands the stakes. "The American dream is in peril so long as its namesake is weighed down by this anchor of debt," Mr. Boehner said before swearing in the 113th Congress. "Break its hold, and we begin to set our economy free. Jobs will come home. Confidence will come back."
Several conservative groups blame Mr. Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for the "fiscal cliff" deal that contained tax hikes without spending cuts. FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe called the measure an "epic fail" created with "secretive backroom negotiations."
Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, told The Washington Times that the bill was "unfortunate for our country, the GOP and the conservative movement" because it had a 43-to-1 ratio of tax hikes to spending cuts. While acknowledging Mr. Boehner's difficult position, Mr. Cardenas insisted, "Under any circumstances, a conservative speaker cannot afford to lead by allowing legislation to pass with a coalition of Democrats and a significant minority of his own party."
Republicans had hoped 2013 would be the year they could finally reform our overly complicated tax system. However, with the president still insisting on imposing higher rates Tuesday, the outlook for positive change appears bleak. Sen. John McCain lambasted Congress Thursday for inserting hundreds of millions of dollars in special-interest handouts into the legislation.
Though the Arizona Republican voted for the "flawed" bill, he admits the loopholes make his choice "harder to justify today." He said the most outrageous corporate welfare breaks went to Hollywood producers, buyers of electric scooters, and algae and asparagus growers. While Mr. Obama repeatedly calls for fairness in the tax code, these carve-outs just benefit his political allies.
Mr. Obama knew he was playing a good hand post-election, so he demanded every conceivable concession. Along with tax hikes and no spending cuts, he asked Congress for $60 billion supposedly for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, but about half of the measure funded unrelated or long-term programs. The Democratic Senate went along with the farce. They played on public sympathy for disaster victims, stuffing into the bill a bunch of expensive projects that would never pass on their own merits.
To Mr. Boehner's credit, he pulled the bloated sham from the floor Wednesday. Then, under intense public relations pressure from the likes of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the New York and New Jersey delegations, the speaker announced the House would vote Friday on the $9 billion section for flood insurance and wait until Jan. 15 to vote on the larger $51 billion aid package. It's an important test of whether this Congress will ever be able to restrain its spending impulse.
When Republicans regained control of the House two years ago, they opened the new Congress with members reading the entire U.S. Constitution aloud on the floor for the first time. A spokesman for the speaker said they will continue the tradition around Jan. 14. Members in both chambers and both sides of the aisle need to re-read the founding document because their actions show they've lost touch with their purpose.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times. She is the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun … But Obama Wants to Take Yours” (Regnery 2013). Miller won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism.
- MILLER: Mark Witaschek tax investigation follows D.C. conviction for muzzleloader bullet ammunition
- MILLER: Harry Reid's hypocrisy on 'Equal Pay Day': No women on top leadership staff
- MILLER: Maryland bathroom bill for transgenders is part of LGBT lobby for sex-change rights
- MILLER: Mark Witaschek surrenders to D.C. police 'Gun Offenders Registry'
- MILLER: Michelle Obama has media blackout in China while touting freedom of press
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
Get Breaking Alerts
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Air Force sees resource shift as U.S. exits Afghanistan, heads to Africa
- FISHER: Shades of Berlin in the South China Sea
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
Recent Letters to the Editor
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bundy support demonstrates voters' distrust
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obamacare disasters were avoidable
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Muhammad wouldn't condone Boston bombing
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: High heels: Hazardous to one's health?
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Marshall's comments hurt GOP, pro-lifers