By Carole on Sep 3, 2011
President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address to engage in some political gamesmanship while calling for an end to political gamesmanship. Desperate to look like he's doing anything in light of yesterday's horrendous jobs report, the president used this morning's speech to once again claim there is a crisis looming and the Surface Transportation Bill will be allowed to expire putting 1 million workers in danger of losing their jobs if Congress fails to act. But the deadline for extension is weeks away and work on it is already well underway.
This latest round of political gamesmanship from the administration centers on the fact that the existing transportation bill expires on September 30. The Senate is working on a two-year bill with no spending cuts, while the House is working on a five-year bill that cuts spending to match revenues produced by the gas tax. In short, Congressional Democrats want to keep on over spending while Congressional Republicans want the government to be more fiscally responsible.
While working to reach an agreement, Congress will most likely need to pass a short term extension of the bill to avoid a lapse. Enter President Obama who wants to turn this relatively simple procedural issue into a way for him to blame others for the overall failure of his handling of the US economy.
Several days ago when Mr. Obama made a similar attempt to fire up his panic machine on this issue, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) responded with the calm reasonable truth: "Aside from the President today, no one has suggested the highway bill will be allowed to expire. These types of scare tactics are irresponsible, transparently political, and needlessly add uncertainty to our economy. Republicans support an extension of the highway bill and appreciate the need for a long-term solution for infrastructure projects."
Yet in this morning's address, Mr. Obama just kept on trying to create a crisis where there is none so that he can blame others for the undeniable failure of his economic policies. Near the end of his speech he said, "There's a lot of talk in Washington these days about creating jobs. But it doesn’t help when those same folks turn around and risk losing hundreds of thousands of jobs just because of political gamesmanship."
He's right of course. But those "folks" all work in the White House.
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