House Republicans are treating healthcare reform like it's the global gag rule. It is the idea that once you get in power you can rescind a law just because you do not like it or agree with it ideologically. Only they can't. Rather than wasting time out of the gate on repealing an already passed law, both Democrats and Republicans should focus on job creation and creating a new economy that works for everyone.
While it'd be nice to engage in a little political jostling and posturing at the start of the term, people and families are still dangling by a thread. The last thing they want to see is elected officials squabbling as they struggle to stay afloat.
New House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says repealing the healthcare legislation is about job creation and supporting small businesses, but there is little to no evidence that the legislation has hurt small businesses or killed job creation. In fact, prior to the passage of the legislation, small businesses paid nearly 20 percent more than large firms for the same health insurance policy.
Today, businesses with fewer than 26 employees can claim a tax credit of up to 35 percent of the costs. And companies with less than 50 employees are exempt from penalties associated with non-compliance with the law. This is all beside the point.
At the close of the year, more than 15 million people were unemployed and without the eleventh hour lifeline extension of unemployment benefits, 2 million, a mere fraction of those unemployed, would have been without a source of income. It would have been a horrible holiday season for us all.
In the new Congress, attention will have to be paid to creating a new economy that works for everyone and that strengthens the eroding middle class. Job creation with an emphasis on quality and long-term employment must be a priority as well a figuring out how to bring down double-digit unemployment in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the most recent recession.
Extending unemployment insurance benefits and providing stimulus dollars to states will only get us through the next couple of years. We need long-term strategies and solutions rooted in today's economic reality where working 9-to-5 no longer guarantees that you will be able to provide for your family and the dream of homeownership has turned into a nightmare for many working families.
Picking a fight during the first week of work is never a good thing, no matter where you work. House Pubs should heed this most basic rule of workplace conduct and focus on working across the aisle to fix the economy and create jobs.