The Tea Party’s Takeover of the Republican Budget

A great post by my colleague Rob Perks:

Today the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass the Republicans’ reckless plan to cut $100 billion in government spending. This includes a 30% budget reduction for the Environmental Protection Agency, which would inflict grave harm to our economy and to our health. (NRDC’s experts have analyzed the GOP budget proposal’s negative environmental impacts. ) While we’ve seen hostility toward federal environmental and public health safeguards before from Republicans in Congress, the far rightwing Tea Party stance has hijacked the GOP agenda to extremes not seen in previous budget battles.

The New York Times, in an editorial aptly titled “Out of Control House”, outlines the severe real-world consequences to the Tea Party-fueled fiscal cutting frenzy:

“In all of their posturing, Republican lawmakers have studiously avoided making clear to voters what vital government services would be slashed or disappear if they got their way — like investment in cancer research or a sharp reduction in federal meat inspections, or the number of police on the street, or agents that keep the borders secure, or the number of teachers in your kids’ schools.”

Even better is an essay making the rounds on Facebook, entitled “Joe Republican”, which exposes the short-sighted mentality behind the Tea Party’s “cut it all, let God sort it out” attitude toward the federal budget and the role of government in the lives of all Americans. It’s worth reading the entire post, but here I’ve excerpted some of the environmental protection aspects:

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards…

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry…

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; his bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards…

After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.) Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.

Truth be told, the essay should probably be entitled “Joe Tea Party” since it is this virulent anti-government faction that is forcing the Republican Party to dig deeper to slash federal spending. So that makes today’s vote the moment of truth for House Republicans. Will they pass H.R. 1, the Continuing Resolution that the Tea Party has effectively shaped into an assault on basic government services, including health and environmental protections? It’s no overstatement to say that the lives of all Americans depend on the outcome.




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