Paul Ryan, the newly
elected Speaker of the House anointed king of the rabble, has already begun following in the dysfunctional and unproductive footprints of his predecessor, John Boehner. He has already announced that his main objective is to improve “communications” and getting out his party’s message of institutionalized discrimination, science denial, fiscal austerity, privatization of public institutions and tax breaks for the rich. Policymaking doesn’t seem to be high on his list of priorities.
Paul Ryan announced on his round of the Sunday conservative echo chambers that he will refuse to work with the president on the critical issue of immigration reform. “The president has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue, because he tried to unilaterally rewrite the law himself. Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does.” Notwithstanding the fact that Ryan had once made immigration reform a personal priority, worked with Democrats in 2013 to write a bipartisan bill, then promptly abandoned it as soon as the far-right refused to take up the bill.
The White House lashed back at Ryan’s statements on Monday. “It’s a little hard for him to make the claim that somehow the president hasn’t acted in good faith on immigration when Speaker Ryan actively thwarted a compromise he himself helped to broker” said Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “And then for him to come back and claim it’s somebody else’s fault? It’s preposterous. I understand he has some complicated politics to take care of in the House when it comes to significant fractures inside of his own conference. He knows best how to handle that. But pandering to the extreme right wing of the Republican conference, including preposterous comments like that, has not served the party or the country very well.”
It is an inauspicious start for the reluctant Speaker. Unfortunately, it appears that we will have to wait until 2016 for our Congress to begin passing any kind of productive legislation or start addressing the wide range of problems that our nation faces. It’s beyond time we elected some legislators who will actually legislate.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.