Last week Republicans took control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2006. The reasons are more complicated than some would lead you to believe, but put simply, it was a mix of high unemployment, a huge money advantage for Republicans by corporate benefactors, dissatisfaction with Washington gridlock, and demographics in midterms that favor Republicans over Democrats. Older people tend to vote in all elections, while younger voters only tend to vote in presidential years. In fact, only about a quarter of young voters participated in the 2010 election vs. half of them during 2008. That’s a steep drop-off and largely benefited the Republicans.
No matter the outcome of the midterm election, it is indisputable that the last Congress was one of the most productive ever. For all of the Pelosi haters out there, Speaker Pelosi accomplished a great deal in the past four years, including many things that Republicans would have supported in the past (such as tax cuts). Her image as a “San Francisco liberal” did not make her many friends in the nation’s mid-section and President Obama rarely defended her, despite the fact that she was carrying his bucket in the House. Here are just a few of the many accomplishments that Pelosi managed when she was House Speaker:
*Extending unemployment benefits. The roughly 10-15% of people unemployed in this area (depending on which county you live in) would not have unemployment benefits if the GOP had their way.
*Expanding health care coverage to all Americans by 2014 (unless Republicans de-fund it, which is quite possible)
*Regulating the banks to make sure that future bailouts do not happen.
*Ending the bank bailouts from the Bush years.
*Increasing funding for financial aid to college, including Pell Grants and reducing the cost of student loans.
*Creating an estimated 3.7 million jobs with the Recovery Act
I would stand by that record any day of the week. The Republicans got us into the ditch and the Democrats got us out. It wasn’t easy and times are still tough, but we are on the path to recovery. Going down the Republican path of de-regulation and tax cuts for the rich will only ensure a future economic collapse.