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Congress has 'checked out' on the economy

<p>There's clearly cause for concern when it comes to the economy.</p>
Congress has 'checked out' on the economy
Congress has 'checked out' on the economy

There's clearly cause for concern when it comes to the economy. Yesterday, there was a sharp increase in initial unemployment claims, followed by a very discouraging report from the Philadelphia Fed on factory activity.

With this as a backdrop, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has spent much of the week taking shots at President Obama, saying he's prioritizing the 2012 race over national needs. "The president checked out last Labor Day. And he's been on the campaign trail nonstop ever since," Boehner said yesterday.

Maybe now would be a good time to pause and consider the events of the last week or so.

Last Thursday, Senate Democrats offered a new tax-cut measure, which would have given small business owners would get a new tax incentive to hire new workers. Independent estimates said the proposal could create nearly 1 million jobs. Senate Republicans killed it.

Senate Republicans made good on their threat to filibuster a Democratic small-business tax cut bill today, ensuring the bill fell seven votes short of what it needed to move forward. The Senate voted 53-44 to limit debate on the bill and move to final passage, but 60 votes were needed to overcome the filibuster.

Yesterday, it got worse.

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the No.1 item on the president's congressional "to-do-list," refusing to allow a vote on a bill that would give tax breaks for companies that "insource" jobs to the U.S. from overseas while eliminating tax deductions for companies that move jobs abroad.

As for the House, the Republican majority is largely ignoring the economy, except to plead with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke not to make any efforts to improve current conditions.

Mr. Speaker, I don't think the president's campaign schedule is the problem.