Since securing a significant congressional majority in 2011, the Republican Party has systematically attempted to shut down President Obama’s proposals. Even in cases which would boon GOP interests, some of the more vocal members of Congress, such as former House speaker John Boehner and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, met Obama with fierce resistance. This would indicate that Republicans do not have the nation’s best interests in mind, but rather wish to compound grief onto our president out of spite. Their obstinance towards progress inhibits movement in any direction — whether towards the left or right — and holds the nation in gridlock.
Even as the Obama presidency enters the final stretch, the GOP decided to cross its arms and stubbornly refuse to do its job. They have been using their congressional majorities not to implement common-sense improvements for the betterment of the nation, but instead to block nearly every reform the president has introduced. The Republican-controlled Congress has forced the president to resort to executive orders on high profile issues such as gun control, climate change, immigration and has even pledged to block any Supreme Court nominations to replace the recently deceased Antonin Scalia that do not comply with their agenda.
Even executive orders fail to avoid controversy, as Republican lawmakers have threatened to sue the president over his usage of them. The Republican party no longer represents those who believe in smaller government; instead they have chosen to base their actions in the last few years on pure obstructionism.
From issues concerning domestic and foreign policy to routine approval procedures, GOP interference has effectively prevented standard governance. For example, despite overwhelming public support for background checks for gun owners, congressional Republicans have continued to block any legislative attempt to implement it. By refusing to compromise, the GOP has undemocratically acted against the will of the people and prevented progress on the national level.
The president’s recent proposal to shut down Guantanamo Bay has elucidated one of the many problematic consequences of congressional gridlock. Because of Congress’ refusal to end this illegal program, many terrorist groups have been able to use the detention camp as anti-American propaganda. This phenomenon has most prominently been seen in ISIS recruitment videos. Furthermore, the official report on Guantanamo released by the CIA found that enhanced interrogation techniques failed to provide reliable information regarding terrorist organizations. It is clear that the failure to shut down Guantanamo Bay has precipitated discernible harm.
Ultimately, the GOP’s current game plan will not do anyone favors. Until they reassess their goals as a party and move towards a platform that is realistic, the Republicans in Congress and elsewhere will find themselves at a dead end.
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