Yesterday morning, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell appeared on the CBS This Morning show and talked with hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell about the presidential election.
Powell is a Republican who served as the National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State under President George W. Bush and well as serving 35 years in the U.S. Army and retiring as a four star general.
Although he calls himself a moderate and Republican, he endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and did so again yesterday on the program.
In his interview with the two co-hosts, Powell leveled a significant part of the blame for the mess we are in on Congress instead of the President.
Powell – “I think the major problem faced by Gov. Romney or President Obama, whoever should win the election, is going to be what to do about the fiscal cliff we’re about to fly over. You know. This is something that was put in place by Congress and while we’re talking about the two candidates for president, let’s not forget that Congress bears a lot of the responsibility for many of the problems that we have now. They’re the ones that write the appropriations bills. They’re the ones that pass the legislation for more spending and for the various entitlement programs that various people have trouble with…”
Charlie Rose – “So you blame the failure to find a grand bargain on the Congress and not on the President.”
Powell – “The failure to find a grand bargain, why do we need a grand bargain? Why do we need a Simpson Bowles? This is work the Congress is supposed to be doing. You’re not supposed to need special committees to come along. We have a Congress of 535 people with dozens and dozens of committees. Why can’t they up on the hill start talking to one another, reach across the aisle? But it will take greater presidential leadership and I think what the president said in one of his remarks yesterday is that he intends to spend more time trying to bring that leadership up to the hill and get both Parties, both sides talking to one another. But every candidate can say ‘I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that’ but in reality it’s the Congress that actually does it or doesn’t do it. I don’t think the Congress is meeting its responsibilities.”
I believe he missed the true issue with the problems in Congress. To begin with, many of the fiscal policies leading to our financial mess were passed during the first two years of Obama’s term when the Democrats controlled both the Senate and House. That is when they enacted Obamacare and the failed stimulus packages. They also failed to produce a budget which is required by law.
After the Republicans gained control of the House in 2010, Senate Democratic leadership, mainly Harry Reid often stated that he would not entertain any bills passed by the GOP House on jobs or budget. Even though Obama failed to produce a budget like he’s supposed to, the House passed a workable budget, but Reid would have no part of it. The GOP House passed over a dozen different jobs bills and only one ever reached committee in the Senate. Reid rejected all of the others because they were the product of the Republicans.
Likewise, Obama on several occasions said he would not accept a jobs bill, tax bill or budget bill unless it met his criteria and that there was no room for negotiation. Currently, Obama has said that he will not approve of any kind of budget or tax cut bill unless it stopped the tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year. In other words, it’s his way or no way. He will let taxes go up on all Americans just to get his way.
When you look at reality, it wasn’t Congress in general that bears responsibility, but the Democrats in Congress and the White House that bear the responsibility. The first two years they had all of the power and could have enacted legislation that could have turned the nation around, but they didn’t. The last two years, they held the American people as hostages trying to force Republicans to join in their massive spending bills that would have plunged us further into debt than we are now.
No, Gen. Powell, Congress as a whole is not to blame, but the Democratic Party, who you are voting for is. It’s you that need to stop and think.