Republicans shrug off setbacks

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, February 13, 2011 15:30 EDT
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WASHINGTON — Top US Republicans put on a brave face this week after a series of surprise setbacks, some suffered at the hands of their own archconservative political shock troops in the “Tea Party.”

“We’re in a new era,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters, shrugging off his woes as the new majority’s growing pains. “That means that the leaders may not get what they want every day.”

Republican aides declare they are winning the war over slashing government spending — saying its about how much, not whether, to cut — and rolling back regulations they charge smother job growth in red tape.

But individual battles have resulted in some embarrassing high-profile defeats: The House of Representatives on Tuesday defeated an extension of high-profile surveillance powers designed to thwart extremist attacks.

The measure fell short in part because 26 Republicans, including many Tea Party-affiliated members, sided with Democrats in opposing the measure.

And the House failed on Wednesday to approve a bill demanding the return of surplus US payment into an obscure UN account — a measure Republicans had touted as a symbol of their resolve to cut government outlays.

Finally, on Thursday, a Tea Party insurrection forced Republican leaders back to the drawing board when the fired-up activists rebelled against a spending blueprint they said fell short of drastic austerity steps they promised in last year’s campaign.

Boehner shrugged again: “We’ve been in the majority now five weeks. We’re going to have a long year. You’re going to see more spending cuts come out of this Congress than in any Congress in the history of this country.”

Democrats, now the minority in the House of Representatives after a November 2 elections rout, enjoyed their opponents’ struggles, with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pointedly referring to “the disarray in the Republican Party.”

“I think what they’re finding out is that it’s easier to talk about cutting than it is to actually do it,” she said.

The Republican-led House could approve the cuts in a vote expected next week on a measure to fund the US government to the October 1 end of its fiscal year.

But that would set up a battle with the Democratic-led Senate, which has grudgingly embraced a ban on pet project called “earmarks” but shown no appetite for the kinds of massive, painful cuts Republicans say are necessary.

And Obama, who still holds the presidential veto pen, has called for a blend of cuts in some areas and investments in education and infrastructure.

Democrats and some Republicans have notably condemned calls for deep cuts to foreign aid as a dangerous retreat from global affairs, saying three decades of military-to-military ties with Egypt gave Washington clout in the crisis there.

“This long relationship bore at least some measure of fruit during the recent crisis when the Egyptian military remained loyal to the people of Egypt — not its ruler,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

“This should serve as both a reminder and an example of why the United States must always resist the temptation to disengage from the world,” he said.

But Republican Representative Ron Paul, speaking at an annual conservative conference, railed against the US relationship to Hosni Mubarak, who stepped down Friday after weeks of street protests and under US pressure.

“We need to do a lot less, a lot sooner, not only in Egypt, but around the world,” he told cheering supporters, drawing boos when he said Washington had given Mubarak 70 billion dollars over the years.

“I’m still against foreign aid for everybody,” Paul told cheering supporters.

“Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of rich countries and giving it to the rich people of poor countries,” he said.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    I don’t like to agree with anything said by someone who calls himself a Republican (or Democrat for that matter) but Ron Paul is right about Foreign Aid serving the needs of the rich. I wish I could suggest some kind of meaningful reform, because it is shameful how many people are struggling to survive when there really is enough for everyone. But Capital Hill is a bastion of organized crime and these guys cannot be trusted to do the right thing, especially when their activities are shielded by distance and international boundaries. Sometimes in the past, emergencies have engendered a worthwhile response, but as last year’s earthquake in Haiti demonstrated, even that part of the program has been corrupted beyond redemption. Sad.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VGQPF4SAS4BGFLDBZYCATHIVFY Chris Herz

    Most US foreign aid goes from our poor to the rich — of both Israel and Egypt. But these rich groups in such countries around the world are the real citizens of the Corporate States of America. We who are merely born and naturalized within the USA have no rights the rich and the corpos are bound to respect. For us it is Homeland Stupidity and the bizarrely named Patriot Act. And shame on us for having allowed this to happen.

  • Anonymous

    The Republican “elites” are shrugging off the “setbacks” . They know how the table is set . They are all programmed to expect Jeb soon .

  • Anonymous

    They’re good at shrugging off everything.

  • Anonymous

    They should just be honest and call it “patronage” or “bribery” or “hush money”.

    Capitol Hill is made up of normal human beings. They behave just like the rest of us. I don’t understand why you expect them to behave better, do you think our leaders are space aliens or robots or what? Human beings lie and cheat and steal. I think perhaps you should learn to appreciate human beings for the imperfect slobs that they are. You will not figure out anything if you keep expecting people to behave better because they never will.

    Our founding fathers understood all of this, this is why they built a “balance of power” into the system. They knew that people are stupid and they do their best to screw things up so they designed a government where it was hard for bad people to mess things up. Alas they did not do a perfect job and their system is starting to rot, because the balance of power is broken.

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    You are being too kind to the bastards. I have friends (surprise!) and family members who are loads better than the corporate stooges on the Hill. Moral beings do still exist, despite the temptations, and there are many people I know who grow up to be really decent and worthwhile people even after a bad start. So I don’t accept your characterization. None of us are perfect, that is true, but there are some damn fine people out there.

  • Anonymous

    once again , shrapnel hits the mark . We do need more good people on the hill . My observation is , most good people just don’t want to swim in that sewer that DC has become .

  • Mr. Neutron

    But that would set up a battle with the Democratic-led Senate…
    And Obama, who still holds the presidential veto pen…

    Hey Teatards, the GOP has only one house of Congress – they can’t do squat without cooperating with Democrats.

    Come 2012, their idiot supporters will have the same ignorant complaint as in 2010 – “Hey, how come everything wasn’t fixed in just two years ? Let’s throw all the bums out.”

  • Anonymous

    The story is despicable, the word “JOBS” does not appear anywhere in this article. Boehner doesn’t mention the word and neither does the person interviewing him. In fact, like almost all articles about the Republicans it mostly talks about spending.cuts as if the only thing that mattered to the American people were spending cuts. I guess the Republicans aren’t going to do a damn thing about jobs for the ten percent of the population that is either unemployed or has given up looking.

    Where are the jobs, Boehner? What are you going to do to get people back to work? Where are the JOBS! Don’t you think that the Federal government can operate more effectively if it has more income taxes from people who are gainfully employed? Where are the JOBS!

  • Anonymous

    Jeb has a HUGE problem, unless he changes his last name, he ain’t got a chance.

  • Anonymous

    WHERE ARE THE JOBS?!!!! the repugs are busy stealing from the middle class, while pandering to the stupid Teatards, good luck in 2012.

  • Anonymous

    … to paraphrase W. C. Fields , ” Never underestimate the intelligence of the average citizen ” , I hope and pray you are right , titan1nyc , but between the electronic voting machines , the supreme court and the money , well , I don’t know . I hope you are right , titan .