Thursday, November 21, 2019

Comentarios from Maria: Discord and Dissonance in the new Republican Congress

maria

Four weeks after assuming control of both chambers of Congress, the new Republican majority finds itself divided and in a state of chaos.

Last week, members of the National Security Commission in the House of Representatives approved an extremist bill that seeks to secure and militarize the border with Mexico even more. Yet this week, ultraconservative members of the GOP opposed the bill because it did not do enough to “punish” President Obama for his executive actions giving some 5 million immigrants protection from deportation. As of now, two bills have already died in the House because Republican leadership has not been able to recognize or navigate the profound divisions between its most extreme and more moderate members, who know that they will have to do more than block and record symbolic votes on legislation that will never become law.

The proposal in question would provide $10 billion to reinforce the border and require operational control of one of the most highly trafficked areas of the border in two years, and complete control in five years. In this case, “operational control” is defined as the total elimination of illegal crossings, a metric that is completely unattainable and therefore illogical and absurd. Despite the extreme nature of the proposal, members of the far-right do not think the bill sufficiently punishes undocumented immigrants who live in the U.S., and refuse to support the proposal until it is more punitive. Evidently, the only thing stopping the materialization of a fundamentally misanthropic Republican agenda is the absence of a coherent legislative strategy within their own party.

Against opposition from their ultraconservative members, GOP leaders had to cancel the vote at the last-minute to calm its extremist base. Yet it should come as no surprise that just one day after this defeat, House Speaker John Boehner revealed his plans to sue President Obama over his executive actions. Obviously, the Republican majority will continue allowing its extreme, anti-Obama, anti-immigrant factions dictate a path toward obstructionism.

A common saying among Republicans is that they understand the priorities of our community and that they have heard the message sent by voters in the most recent midterm elections. But what these latest setbacks show is that there is a collective dissonance among Republicans about the priorities of the American people.

So far, the GOP has done nothing more than obstruct the President. They are determined to repeal an executive action that would stimulate our economy by $210 billion over the next ten years, takes the undocumented population into account responsibly, and simultaneously includes measures to continue protecting our border.

For now, no Republican proposal of the new Congress favors the interests of our national security, our economy, nor our families. No proposal would help our middle- and working-classes live better lives. If they do not change this course, the GOP will continue being a party full of contradictions without an agenda or clear vision, blindly guided by the regressive demands of its most extreme members.

This piece originally appeared in Spanish in the Washington Hispanic.