Reckless GOP: Twin House bills would hurt vulnerable Americans

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In acts of almost incredible irresponsibility, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives last week passed, first, a major cut in food stamps and, second, a bill that keeps the government going but defunds Obamacare. Neither proposal will pass the Senate and both would be vetoed by President Barack Obama if they did.

This is what the House does instead of serious work. Or, if some of its members believe this is serious work, voters should consider replacing them in November 2014. House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, acts to perfection the role of a weak and frightened leader. He is too afraid of losing his position as ostensible head of the House Republicans to play the responsible, national role accorded by his title. Instead, he caves in to the extremists in his party and ends up looking as foolish to the American public as they do.

So far, there has been no retribution from voters. There is even the question of whether there will be, with so many House districts gerrymandered in such a way that even the most irresponsible members cannot be driven from office at the polls.

Here's what the lawmakers did. On Thursday, carrying out a cowardly attack on America's weakest, children and adults who live in what is euphemistically called "food insecurity," Republicans led a party-line push to cut $40 billion over 10 years from the food stamp program.

This comes when 47 million Americans live in poverty. An estimated 20 percent -- 9.4 million -- are children and in no way to blame for their plight. The American economy is still weak. Unemployment is still high.

The House Republicans' second irresponsible act was another vote along party lines, in the face of a partial government shutdown Oct. 1, to pass a stopgap budget bill that would finance the government until December but strip funding from the Affordable Care Act health insurance reform. That measure was passed by both houses of Congress in 2010, but is now the principal target of Tea Party Republicans who are calling the shots in the House, to disable Mr. Obama.

For all the House GOP's fanfare, neither bill stands a chance in the Senate or the White House. That leaves the United States in a stalemate on food stamps and without a functioning government starting next week. The House's action would be remarkable if it were not so thoroughly appalling.

opinion_editorials


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