THE BLOG
08/05/2014 05:23 pm ET Updated Oct 05, 2014

Try Governing for a Change

ASSOCIATED PRESS

On their way out of town Friday night, House Republicans launched a mean-spirited assault on immigrant children.

It was stunning. One by one, Republican members of the House voted to turn their backs on fairness, compassion and common sense -- and go after DREAMers in California and across America.

We are talking about children and young adults -- many of whom were brought to our country as infants -- who grew up here, went to school here, work here and live here as our neighbors and friends. Now the GOP wants these young dreamers and their families out. It's sad, it's ugly, and it's against everything we stand for as a country.

I am pretty sure that I've never quoted George Will approvingly before, but he had it exactly right when he said: "My view is that we have to say to these children, 'Welcome to America. You're going to go to school and get a job and become Americans.'" He also said, "The idea that we can't assimilate these 8-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous."

It was also heartless. Watching that surreal scene on the floor of the House felt like The Wizard of Oz -- with the GOP as the Tin Man searching for a heart. Because while the House Republicans cheered for themselves on that fateful night, history will not look kindly on their ugly attacks on immigrant children.

And this is not an isolated example. On issue after issue facing our country, this is a Republican Party so obsessed with blocking the president -- and now suing the president -- that it has abdicated its most basic responsibility to govern.

Take immigration reform. The sad irony is that we would be better equipped to handle this influx of Central American children if Republicans had just allowed a vote on the bipartisan Senate bill to fix our broken immigration system. Instead they have ignored economists, Fortune 500 CEOs and the Chamber of Commerce who know how much reform would help our economy. They ignore the will of our people. And they have ignored the foundation of America -- a place where almost all families trace their roots to lands half a world away.

It is the same with the highway bill. We live in the most advanced democracy in the world, and yet our roads and bridges are falling apart. Our states, our cities, our drivers, our workers -- everyone is counting on us to fund our critical infrastructure over the long haul. Instead, the House GOP keeps passing short-term band-aids paid for with gimmicks. That isn't governing, it is posturing.

And it isn't governing when Republicans refuse to raise the minimum wage, which has been frozen for five years; when they refuse to make college more affordable for millions of middle class families; or when they refuse to keep bosses from denying their employees access to affordable birth control and other critical health care services. None of that is governing.

I have served with three presidents of the other party. I get it. You are not always going to agree. But you are elected to put politics aside and solve the biggest challenges facing the American people, and that is not happening today.

If all your news came from press releases issued by House Republicans, you would never know that the president has ended two wars.

You would never know that he helped pave the way for 53 straight months of private-sector job growth.

You would never know that the president brought the American auto industry back from the brink, despite the GOP cries of "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

You would never know that the deficit has been reduced by more than half.

And you would never know that he brought Osama bin Laden to justice.

You wouldn't hear about any of that. In fact, if you got all your news from House Republican press releases, all you would know about the GOP's do-nothing agenda is what they are against: anything President Obama does to move America forward.

Of course, this blind opposition is the foundation of the Republicans' partisan lawsuit. Their complaint, in a nutshell, is that the president actually wants to govern.

Instead of suing President Obama for governing, the House GOP should try it sometime.

Our country, our economy, and our children -- all of them -- would be much better for it.

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