After a short, eight-day session, members of the House of Representatives packed their bags and said goodbye to the Hill until after the 2012 presidential election. President Obama made it clear he was upset in his weekly address:
“Last week, without much fanfare, Members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now. If that frustrates you, it should- because their work isn’t finished. Apparently, some members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours.”
Obama strategically and repeatedly placed the majority of blame on Congressional Republicans accusing them of dragging their feet and “skipping town,” at one point saying, “Republicans in Congress decided that working families could wait. And now they have to wait a little longer…Republicans have refused to budge. They’re holding tax cuts for 98% of Americans hostage until we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.”
Specifically, Obama reprimanded the House for not passing bills which he says would have provided emergency aid to farmers, helped veterans find jobs after returning from service, and allowed homeowners to refinance at historically low rates. More importantly, they did not vote to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, an issue President Obama says there is bipartisan agreement on.
President Obama is most likely perturbed because much of what was left on the table has the potential to strengthen the economy and create jobs, two of the harshest areas of criticism for his campaign throughout this election cycle. Although pulling ahead in the polls, President Obama could have used some relief in this area with only 45 days until the election and 11 days until the first debate.
The 112th Congress has undoubtedly been one of the least productive and least popular in recent history, and there will be plenty to do in November’s lame-duck session. This includes the large feat of establishing $109 billion in spending cuts. With the gridlock in Washington and neither legislative branch majority willing to budge, it is questionable when or if new measures will be passed. The House of Representatives may have withheld any type of free assistance for President Obama in this election cycle, but they did give him the opportunity to shift the blame regarding American’s economic woes facing Americans off of himself and onto them.