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Tea Party is 5 years old; no happy birthday wishes

March 12, 2014
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

No happy birthday wishes are being extended to the Tea Party.

No thanks for ruining our country with an obsessive fixation on debt reduction.

No thanks for passing hardly any bills out of the U.S. House of Representatives.

No thanks for advocating for a costly government shutdown (a $24 billion loss).

No thanks for taking Congress' approval level to 18 percent.

No thanks for cutting food stamps.

No thanks for failing to renew unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, in an economy where there are three people looking for every one job open.

The Tea Party's threat to hold 2014 mainstream Republican candidates hostage to a threat of opposition in a primary race is undermining the moderate and middle wings of the Republican Party.

To summarize the Tea Party 85 in the U.S. House are simply obstructionists of any good government. They have a Radical Right agenda, and are a threat to the health of the two-party system.

The fact that they have too much control of the Republican U.S. House's agenda allows them much too much power. They do not serve their constituents; the Tea Party is only loyal to self-interest and self-serving ideology.

Let's examine how much power 85 people in a legislative body of 435 should have. Eighty-five is nowhere near a majority.

John Boehner, fearful of losing his speakership, seldom goes against the Tea Party's agenda. So no bills get to the floor, much less pass on to the Senate. However, as of now, they have voted 50 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act - even though the Senate repeatedly rejects that, and the President would veto it. And these Congress members, who "work" only 125 days a year, collect a salary of $174,000.

Another act of obstruction occurs regularly in the House: the Hastert Rule. This rule says that a Republican Congress must approve by a vote of 50 percent or more any bill to be brought to the floor for a vote. Once again those 85 Tea Party congressmen do not represent 50 percent of the Republicans (232 Republicans divided by half equals 116) yet the 85 manage to intimidate the rest of the party.

So, as no bills that are needed ever pass, where do we go if two years go by with no attempt at governing? We will have no job growth, no infrastructure repair, no tax code reform, no help for the needy, no restoration of Head Start.

Do we really want to return Tea Party lawmakers to office? Or do we want to kick them out while we still have a country. This most assuredly will be an anti-incumbent election. Please vote for We The People, not They The Obstructionists.

Joan Patterson

Lehigh Acres



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