Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Marching Backwards: The Republican Agenda For The Next Two Years

In an editorial this morning, the New York Times urged readers to vote. We're used to such appeals encouraging Americans to do their civic duty and exercise this precious right. That, however, was not the focus of the piece. The editors urged its readership to consider the Republicans' obstructionist agenda and vote against it. Now that the Republicans have taken the House, the points the Times raises following the vote are still relevant–indeed, they're more relevant than ever. Regarding the nation's critical issues, here's what we can expect from the Republicans as they try to march us backwards over the next two years:

• Since Mr. Obama was elected, millions of poor children who did not have health insurance got it. A reform law was passed that already allows young people to be on their parents’ plan until they are 26, bars insurers from dropping coverage after a beneficiary becomes sick, and removes lifetime caps on coverage. In 2014, many more benefits will kick in.

Republicans are determined to undo that progress. It would be a disaster. The law is the best chance in years to provide health insurance to the rapidly rising numbers of uninsured and to begin trying to slow cost growth in medical care and insurance.

• The country needs tax reform that is fair and doesn’t get us even deeper in the red. Republicans are interested only in one thing: permanently extending tax cuts for the rich, adding $700 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

• The country needs jobs and to be globally competitive. Republicans are determined to block Mr. Obama’s sensible proposals to create good jobs by rebuilding fraying infrastructure or creating new energy industries.

• The country needs sound regulation. If there is any doubt about that look at the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Or the bank bailout that — despite what the Republicans are saying — happened on Mr. Bush’s watch. The Republicans want more heedless deregulation.

• With very few exceptions, Republican candidates are hostile to the administration’s efforts to address climate change and reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. There has already been talk on Capitol Hill of stripping the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases.

Cartoon: Tom Toles

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