WASHINGTON – Republicans won dramatic victories last November by promising to mitigate high unemployment. “This coming election is about one issue: jobs,” to-be Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said weeks before election day. “It’s about jobs that were promised to the American people by the current administration, and were never delivered.”
But in the three months since taking over the House and expanding their voices in the Senate, Republicans have yet to pass a jobs-focused bill, instead prioritizing numerous social and cultural issues that are unrelated to job creation — and have little or no chance of becoming policy.
Here are six such legislative goals they’ve been hard at work on.
1) Curtailing Abortion Rights
A top priority for Republicans, H.R. 3, “The No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act” is on its way to passage in the House after successfully maneuvering through the Judiciary and Ways And Means Committees.
Though the GOP stripped out some of its most controversial provisions — such as denying exemptions to a woman even in cases of rape, incest and when her life is in danger — the measure raises costs for businesses by eliminating tax deductions on employee health insurance plans that cover abortion.
2) Defunding Planned Parenthood
The House last month approved a measure 240-185, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), to cut off all $317 million in Title X funding for Planned Parenthood and all other health care providers that offer abortions.
Under the law, Title X money cannot be used for abortion, so — beyond the shot across Planned Parenthood’s bow — Republicans effectively voted to strip funding enjoyed by mostly low-income women for medical services like cancer screenings, breast exams and HIV tests.
3) Defunding NPR
In the wake of James O’Keefe’s highly edited video sting that defamed National Public Radio executives, House Republicans last week called an emergency session to push through legislation that eliminates taxpayer funds to the radio-based news agency. It passed 228-192 on a partisan vote, winning over no Democrats and losing 7 Republicans.
4) Investigating American Muslims
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY) held a controversial hearing two weeks ago about the extent of radicalization within the American Muslim community. Though even critics admitted that the xenophobic undertones were relatively mild compared to what they expected, the hearings had their fair share of bizarre statements.
5) Declaring English As America’s Official Language
Liberating Americans from ever needing to learn another language, Republicans this month introduced the “English Language Unity Act,” which would declare English as the official language of the U.S.
The bill declares that “all citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the laws of the United States made in pursuance of the Constitution.”
6) Reaffirming The “In God We Trust” Motto
The House Judiciary Committee last week approved a GOP resolution reaffirming the motto of the United States as “In God We Trust” — you know, just in case people forgot what America was all about.
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