SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

January 3, 2013

Our view: A shameful time for Congress

(Continued)

Republicans, still reeling from their poor performance in the November elections, should not cave in and permit major tax increases without some accompanying cuts in spending. Raising taxes without cutting spending accomplishes little more than throwing gasoline on an already raging bonfire.

The sad reality is that Americans will discover in 2013 that these desperate negotiations are largely a sham. Our federal government will continue to spend far more money than it takes in. The only subject to debate is just how much more it will spend.

Our national debt now stands at $16.4 trillion. When we greet the arrival of 2014 a year from now, that figure will be higher still as America continues to support its current standard of living by mortgaging the future of our grandchildren.

Has a more irresponsible group of people ever had greater power over the fate of a nation? Has a group of political leaders ever failed more miserably to perform its most basic duties, even duties as basic as helping the country’s citizens recover from natural disasters?

How else to explain the decision of House Republicans to allow the current term of Congress to expire without holding a vote on disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy?

The Senate had approved a $60.4 billion measure Friday to help victims of the storm that leveled parts of New Jersey and New York. The House Appropriations Committee has a smaller, $27 billion plan and was expected to vote on it today — before House leaders decided to abandon a vote this session. Where it should spend, Congress doesn’t.

“I’m here tonight saying to myself for the first time that I’m not proud of the decision my team has made,” Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., said, according to The Associated Press. “It is the wrong decision, and I’m going to be respectful and ask that the speaker reconsider his decision. Because it’s not about politics, it’s about human lives.”

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