The Real Republican Agenda: A Triple Threat to America's Values

6-24-06, 9:33 am

This week, Washington Republicans have made very clear their real agenda for the American people. Washington Republicans are running away from tough decisions and instead are desperately pandering to their base to improve their political standing in November.

First, House Republicans temporarily abandoned comprehensive immigration reform, and have announced that they will now hold 'field meetings' in order to whip up anti-immigrant sentiment around the country and deflect from their failures. Second, after refusing to raise the minimum wage after nearly a decade, Senate Republicans again thwarted efforts to raise the economic standing of millions of Americans who live below or near the poverty line. Finally, in the last 24 hours, House Republicans also abandoned efforts to renew the Voting Rights Act, even after many of them embraced the extension less than a month ago on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Let's be clear, this week we saw everything we need to know about the real Republican agenda and just how out of step they are with America's values.

Washington Republicans have resorted to partisan political games to deny an increase in the minimum wage that would have directly helped millions of hard working American families.

Senate Republicans Blocked Minimum Wage Increase. 'Senate Republicans on Wednesday killed an effort to raise the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has been $5.15 an hour since 1997.... The federal minimum wage is the lowest it has been in more than 50 years relative to the cost of living, according to a study by the liberal Economic Policy Institute. The average full-time minimum wage worker earns $10,712 a year, about $900 more than the federal poverty level for one person and $2,500 less than the poverty level for a couple.' [Los Angeles Times, 6/22/06]

Washington Republicans are trying to distract from their failures on immigration reform by using immigrants as scapegoats to try to win in November. Why? Because they have no real agenda or ideas to offer America.

House GOP's 'Field Meetings' On Immigration Done For 'Maximum Demagogic Effect In The Run-Up To The November Election.' 'How can you tell when a governing party is running out of steam? When it controls all branches of government yet abandons even the pretense of addressing an issue most members claim is a 'crisis.' That's what the GOP-led House did Tuesday in announcing that discussions over reconciling its enforcement-centric immigration bill with the Senate's legalization-focused version will be pushed back to September at the earliest, and only after completing more hearings. Instead of naming negotiators and attempting in good faith to bridge the chasm between the bills, House leaders are busy naming locations for 'field meetings' that can deliver maximum demagogic effect in the run-up to the November election.' [Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 6/21/06]

Now they are holding the Voting Rights Act hostage, refusing to ensure the right to vote and have that vote counted for every American, so that they can pander to the extremists in their party.

Washington Republicans Block Renewal Of The Voting Rights Act. 'House leaders abruptly canceled a vote to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act yesterday after rank-and-file Republicans revolted over provisions that require bilingual ballots in many places and continued federal oversight of voting practices in Southern states. The act is widely considered a civil rights landmark that helped thousands of African Americans gain access to the ballot box. Its renewal seemed assured when House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders embraced it in a May 2 kickoff on the Capitol steps.' [Washington Post, 6/22/06]