Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Next Election or the Next Generation?

In the past three years, the Obama administration has had huge foreign policy achievements through the START treaty with Russia, bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, officially ending the Iraq War, refocusing of our efforts in Afghanistan, and most recently by helping to end the Gaddafi regime in Libya.

Specifically, the main difference between our Libya operation and the Iraq War was that by leading the NATO operation, we were able to organize the international community, get the UN mandate for the operation, and get Arab countries involved. Because of Obama’s leadership, we not only sent a message to dictators around the world, but we did so without having a single U.S. troop on the ground, ZERO U.S. casualties, and a minimum cost to the American taxpayers.

Despite these foreign policy achievements, however, our domestic policy has recently been stalled.

Although Obama has urged Congress to pass the much needed American Jobs Act, the Republican leadership has voted unanimously to block debate on the bill. When asked why, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell argued that saving the jobs of teachers and fire fighters, or extending payroll tax cuts for middle-class families, is just another unnecessary government “bailout”.

But these are hardworking Americans who have felt victim to the failed economic policies of the GOP leadership. They are not bad actors who acted irresponsibly. Further, McConnell argued that, “we're not going to get this economy going again by growing the government. It's the private sector that's ultimately going to drive this recovery.” His actions, however, have proven otherwise.

By rejecting the American Jobs Act, the Republican Party has also rejected tax cuts for small business owners (who are the biggest job creators) and investments in infrastructure which, according to business leaders in the private sector—like Warren Buffett and companies like GE and Comcast—are crucial to rebuilding this economy.

To bypass the gridlock in this do-nothing Congress, President Obama –whose first stimulus created more net private sector jobs than the previous administration—issued 2 new executive orders last week. The first is to help homeowners refinance their mortgages, and the second is to help college graduates pay back their student loans.

Although these executive orders are helping Americans who are in need of assistance, there is only so much President Obama can do without Congress.

And as Obama said in an interview with Jay Leno last week, we need Republicans to stop “putting party ahead of country or putting the next election ahead of the next generation." We need Congress to act soon.

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