Editorial: Total Disregard for the Presidency

Legislators refuse to meet to listen to the White House's budget proposal
Editorial: Total Disregard for the Presidency
Congress refuses to discuss the new government budget.
Foto: EFE

The hostility shown by Congress’ Republican majority toward the Obama Administration reached new heights when the budget committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives refused to show up to the traditional presentation of the White House’s budget proposal. The rebuff breaks a civil 41-year-old tradition meant to encourage the two Parties and the Executive and Legislative branches to work together for the common good.

Such a thing is unlikely to happen when Budget Chief Shaun Donovan was not even invited to testify this time, simply because they do not agree with the President’s proposals. Lawmakers announced their intention not to invite Donovan even before the first proposal was printed. Congress decided early on that there was nothing worth listening and that they would rather work on solving the deficit than considering ideas they already deemed as wasteful spending.

It is ironic to see the least productive Congress in decades trying saying that they don’t want to waste time. The House of Representatives tried to strike down Obamacare more than 60 times, even when they knew that they would not succeed.

Clearly, Republican legislators do not want to hear that the current deficit increase has much to do with the tax cuts they have recently promoted themselves. For years, the federal deficit has gradually decreased thanks to bipartisan spending caps, the economic recovery and the end of some Bush-era tax cuts.

It is not surprising to see a president’s last budget carry less weight than his previous ones. Most of the time, it extends the president’s vision beyond his term in the hope that his successor will carry it on. In this case, it also introduces necessary non-partisan measures such as cyber attack protections. Still, by slamming the door the Republican leaders prevent themselves from even listening to what they should hear, for the sake of their voters.

Breaking the rules of civility is unacceptable, let alone having the people who break them accuse Obama of being divisive. Congress cannot accomplish its mission when it decides not to listen to the President because they disagree with him. So much for democracy!