Jared Bernstein’s blog On The Economy breaks down how the Republicans could have had a much better deal on spending cuts a few months ago. A combination of timing and GOP sedition are bringing the country to the economic brink, yet again. Republicans refuse to govern with the first black President. How many more scenarios like this do we need to draw this conclusion?
House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi clearly advocated invoking the 14th Amendment last Sunday on the CBS’s, Face the Nation, and now there are reportedly several Democrat members of the Senate that would back President Obama if it came to that. Even though I still don’t think that President Obama will invoke the 14th Amendment, it’s good to know that Democrats are showing solidarity against right-wing extremism and GOP brinksmanship. Isn’t it funny, to Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s point, that Republicans never had any issues with raising the debt ceiling during the deficit-creating Bush years? Section 4 of the 14th Amendment states as follows:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
If the 14th Amendment were invoked by President Obama, Section 4 would definitely be challenged relative to its interpretation and application, but I think it very clearly indicates that valid public debt (any debt not deemed as illegal) “shall not be questioned.” With each balk by the GOP at raising the debt ceiling, they are challenging the very legality of the debt which Congress has already legislated. That is an oxymoron.
On January 2nd, the White House ruled that foreign spouses and children can stay with their U.S. citizen relatives if they are applying for green cards (permanent residency). This is another step in the right direction as the Obama Administration moves toward comprehensive immigration reform. Nancy Pelosi mentioned immigration reform in her remarks at the opening of 113th Congress, but there was no mention from John Boehner. President Obama has promised to introduce an immigration reform bill shortly after his inauguration that will give legal status to approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants. I think he will do just that. Besides, something must be done on immigration reform in his second term, and after garnering 71% of the Hispanic vote in the 2012 Election, I think that President Obama has a mandate.
The Republicans will charge that President Obama needs to secure our borders, but Mr. Obama has been doing that and more. In fact, according to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Obama Administration in FY11 alone almost 400,000 immigrants were deported, and in FY12 over 400,000 immigrants were deported. Recent deportations, within the last fiscal year, and as a matter of priority, fell into the category of immigrants who were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors as the Obama Administration fine-tuned its deportation policy.
One might ask, what happened to the significance of the sonnet, “New Colossus” inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free“. Or does this phrase only have application if the immigrant population is European? Conservative Republicans do not want immigration reform, and if the GOP remains on its same course, immigrants who may someday become U.S. citizens represent yet another constituency with whom they will have no influence, especially Hispanic immigrants. With the political composition of 113th Congress, immigration reform promises to be another gritty battle for the Obama Administration. Nonetheless, now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform.
Read the ABC Univision piece: Analysis: 6 Things Obama Needs To Do for Immigration Reform
Boehner retains his role as Speaker of the House with a total vote of 220, and 192 votes for House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. A total of 15 “other” votes were cast for members of the House including Cantor (3) and former Rep. Allen West (1). There was much speculation regarding whether or not John Boehner would retain his Speakership, but it appears that he has survived the storm that was the fiscal cliff and the 112th Congress. I am actually in favor of Boehner retaining his Speakership. The thought of Eric Cantor being elevated was disturbing. As they say, “better the devil you know…” Having said that let me be clear that I’m no fan of Boehner either, but at least we know that he is an establishment Republican and not a Tea Party fanatic. The games of the 113th Congress are now afoot with the Speaker and House-elect being sworn in a little after 2 p.m. today.