Often when I’ve described the behavior of the Republican party toward President Obama, I’ve evoked the image of a petulant child throwing a hissy fit. Honestly, that’s often what I see when they’re on another one of their irrational fear mongering campaigns against the president. I don’t see rational adults hoping to work with another adult in a mature manner, I see children who desperately want to get their way being unable to do so because the adult that’s in charge won’t let them.
This situation with immigration is a perfect example.
About a year and a half ago, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together in a rare showing of bipartisanship to pass comprehensive immigration reform by a vote of 68-32. It wasn’t even as if the vote for this bill was close – it overwhelmingly passed the Senate, and it was a bill the president said he would sign.
But as most of us know, we never saw comprehensive immigration reform get passed in this country because Speaker of the House John Boehner refused to even let the House vote on it. And I think it’s important to clarify what I mean by that. It’s not that this Senate bill went up for a vote in the House and failed, it’s that Boehner wouldn’t even let them vote on it. And the reason why he didn’t let the House vote on this piece of legislation is because all indicators pointed to it passing.
Just think about that for a moment. Two-thirds of our government comes out on the record (one verbally, one via the Senate’s vote) in support of a piece of legislation. Not only that, but all signs point to this legislation passing in the House of Representatives if it were to come up for a vote, meaning that President Obama would have then signed it into law.
Except Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner flat-out won’t let the House vote on it.
Tell me, how’s that democracy? One man, and a handful of right-wing radicals in one branch of our government, with absolute power over a piece of legislation that’s supported by the president, was passed with bipartisan support in the Senate and is something an overwhelming number of Americans support.
And well over a year later, after Boehner and these House Republicans have refused to do anything on immigration, Republicans are now throwing a hissy fit because President Obama is tired of their inaction and is using as much power as he has to finally get something done on immigration.
But not only that, instead of these Republican senators who voted for this immigration bill last year coming out and calling out their right-wing pals in the House for blocking the bill that they worked with Democrats to pass, many of them have decided to cowardly side with their other do-nothing Republicans and condemn Obama for enacting some of the same measures they voted for just last year.
This is pathetic, childish partisanship at its worst. We had a bipartisan bill that the president would have signed, that was supported by the vast majority of Americans – yet we couldn’t get it passed because a fraction of our Congress simply refused to do anything about immigration. And now, since they won’t do anything, they’re pissed because President Obama has decided to do something. And instead of the Republicans who voted for the immigration bill last year siding with the president in calling out the inaction of House Republicans, they’ve decided to act like cowards and side with their do-nothing buddies in the House of Representatives.
But the question the media should be asking these House Republicans who blocked this immigration bill – and who are throwing such a fit over Obama’s push for measures to deal with immigration – is when exactly were they planning to finally do their jobs and work on a comprehensive immigration bill of their own? It’s been four years since they took power in the House, and almost a year and a half since the Senate passed a bill, and they haven’t done a damn thing of substance.
Then again, not doing a damn thing is exactly what the House of Representatives has done since Republicans took control of it in 2010.