Yesterday, every single Republican U.S. Senator voted against debating the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, which would provide funds to create or retain about 400,000 jobs for teachers and public safety workers.
That includes Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who said “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
That includes new Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who said “We cannot afford to be bailing out local governments.”
That includes Senators Scott Brown, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe, who are frequently deemed “moderate” by the press.
To the American public, this is not a controversial bill. A CNN poll found that 75 percent are in favor of the policy that helps prevent layoffs in police departments and firehouses by charging a small surcharge on adjusted gross incomes exceeding $1 million.
The surtax would affect a small sliver, just 0.2 percent of Americans. The benefits would have affected many, many more of us. As the Vice President pointed out on Tuesday, crime rates are up all around the country, directly correlated with the layoffs of police officers. Again, this is not controversial, it’s both common knowledge and scientifically established fact that crime rates dropped in the 1990’s as the number of police officers increased.
But instead of explaining their actions of voting against an overwhelmingly popular bill that would have incredible public benefit, Republicans and their allies had a little sideshow about the Vice President saying crime rates are up, specifically that rates of rape are up. Senator John Barasso (R-WY) said these comments reflected White House “fear tactics” and “desperation,” and right wing reporter Jason Mattera accosted the Vice President after a press conference to ask him if he thought the comments were “appropriate.”
We’re going to join with the National Organization of Women (NOW) and stand squarely with the Vice President on this one. Here’s what NOW President Terry O’Neill told the Daily Caller:
“I think he is concretely worried that with fewer police on the beat crime will go up,” O’Neill told The Daily Caller. “I think he is imagining the lives of real people. That is not a device — that is an actual ability to know what everyday people go through.”
I don’t think anyone, let alone Biden, should have to apologize for pointing out the consequences of the Republicans political games. They push 30 year old economic theories, they talk about how this will hurt President Obama politically, but then to turn around and react with faux outrage when someone talks about how their irresponsible votes will affect actual Americans?
As the VP said, “This is about priorities. Watch your senator. Watch him or her choose.” Well, they’ve chosen. And we saw. Republicans voted for the ability of about 700 millionaires to breathe a little easier, and ignored the fact that crime rates, including murder, rape, and burglary, are ticking upwards. Those are their priorities.