Labrador Op Ed by Larry Grant

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Idahoans do not need politicians who say one thing and do another.  Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador wants credit for negotiating a compromise on raising the debt ceiling of the United States but when it came time to vote, he was ready to let the country default on its obligations for the first time in history.  This would have been a disaster.  But when coupled with his other actions, it is clear that the Congressman is more interested in his own political career than he is in doing what is right for Idahoans.

Last week, U. S. House Speaker John Boehner praised Labrador for his help in working on an agreement in Congress to raise the debt limit.  But when it came time to actually vote Mr. Labrador voted no on the very legislation he helped put together.

Congressman Labrador’s explanation for his action leaves more questions than answers.  He says he didn’t vote for the legislation because the final bill did not include a balanced-budget amendment to the U. S. Constitution.  Republicans have talked about a balanced-budget amendment every year except those years when they could have actually acted on it.  During the six years that Republicans held majorities in both the House and the Senate and had a Republican president in the White House, they failed to pass their beloved amendment.  In other words, when it came time to put up or shut up, they shut up.

During his brief time in office, Labrador has firmly established himself as a politician with the habit of speaking out of both sides of his mouth.  He claims to support seniors, but voted for the Republican budget that would dismantle Medicare.  He says he agrees that we should close loopholes in the tax code, but has consistently voted to maintain taxpayer subsidies of the largest oil companies in America despite their record profits.  And, he says he believes in keeping jobs in America, but voted against a provision that would have prevented the government from contracting with companies that outsource jobs overseas.

Congressman Labrador says he wants to help the people of Idaho, but he fights for a reckless and extreme Republican agenda.  With two wars, tax cuts for the rich, and deregulation of Wall Street, Republican policies have pushed the United States into near bankruptcy.  Teachers, union workers and ordinary Americans did not cause the debt crisis. The Republicans don’t care. They are using the debt crisis to end Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, to decimate our public schools, to reward oil and drug companies, and to give more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. Congressman Labrador is one of their most reliable soldiers, but that leaves his constituents with no one to fight for them.

Thank goodness we live in a country where the voters can decide whether Congressman Labrador has done a good job for Idaho.  If he continues to vote for the pocketbook of corporate America instead of looking out for the citizens of Idaho then he won’t have any need to try and explain his actions in Washington, D. C., after the next election.

Larry Grant, Idaho Democratic Party State Chair- (208) 739-0242

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