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Ed Royce on CNN

Congressman Ed Royce on CNN

Matthew Leslie

The “Democratic Wave” that swept recent elections earlier this month in other areas of the country does not seem to be of great concern to 39th District Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fulllerton). Though he faces up to half a dozen challengers next year for the seat he has held comfortably for two decades, Mr. Royce nonetheless evidently felt politically secure enough to vote in favor of a tax overhaul that would, in the long term, largely benefit the wealthy at the expense of middle class voters in his district.In a press release, Mr. Royce characterized H.R. 1 as “not perfect,” but a “good start.”

Like his vote earlier this year for a slipshod bill that recklessly tried to overturn the popular Affordable Care Act without providing alternative health care, Congressman Royce’s support for the Republican Party’s massive corporate tax cut reveals once and for all that his loyalties lie with the economically elite of this country, and not with ordinary working families.

To rationalize his support for a tax plan the will create a $ 1.5 trillion deficit, Ed Royce’s explanatory press release attempts to assure his constituents that he is “committed to ensuring the final product works for Californians.” Maybe it will work for Californians like Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., but there is no real reason to think that cutting cooperate taxes by 1/3 will actually draw money back into the domestic economy. It’s an out and out gamble that more jobs would somehow be created in his district as a result of this massive gift to multinational corporations, and not a chance that any responsible elected official would take without the sort of solid economic backing that is nowhere to be found behind H.R. 1.

Asserting that “It’s been 31 years since we last reformed our tax code,” Ed Royce conveniently ignores the utter failure of Reaganomics to stop the ensuing and continuing deterioration of the middle class in this country a generation ago. Corporate growth does not automatically equal better living standards for Americans. A plan so bad that it caused even Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) to balk should not have been supported by Ed Royce either.

Congressman Ed Royce, (R-Fullerton) stuck to his guns and voted “No” on a measure to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and fund the federal government this week. House Speaker John Boehner acknowledged that Republicans had lost, but said they had “fought the good fight.” Unlike many of his fellow Republicans, who joined Democrats in voting to end the government shutdown, Mr. Royce stayed true to his course, refusing to abandon his position that cutting off funds to the federal government was better than delivering health care to poor people.


Double down!

And why should he? Ed Royce knows what the National Rifle Association knows. When faced with a seemingly insurmountable wall of public opinion against your position, don’t  compromise. Instead, double down! Hold on to your position for dear life and run with it as long as you possibly can, even if it looks like you’re running straight toward a cliff. It worked for the NRA. Even after school children were slaughtered in their classrooms, the NRA defeated measures to control dangerous weapons by threatening lawmakers with primary challenges in the next election cycle.

Ed Royce, who received an “A” rating from the NRA, surely noticed that giving in to reasonable public sentiment was not the way to victory in the end. His funders, real estate, financial services, defense, and petroleum industries, know that he’s a better bet for them than anyone likely to challenge him (that would be no one). They will surely congratulate him for not giving in to the defeatist thinking that seduced some of his party to restore government funding to, among others, those who regulate their businesses.

Your Congressman and mine, Ed Royce, Jr., voted in favor of House Resolution 59, which would pass the fiscal year 2014 budget, but require a one year delay of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). Ed Royce’s official website will tell you that he is becoming a “quiet giant of foreign policy” by virtue of his Chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. There is even a helpful guide entitled Information for Constituents on the Government Shutdown to explain how his vote to defund most of the government (he’ll continue to be paid) will affect us. But there is no attempt to explain why Mr. Royce thinks that shutting down the government is a good idea, only an evasive reference to the origin of the crisis in “a lapse in funding.” Ronald Reagan, who famously said of the Iran-Contra scandal that “mistakes were made,” would be proud.


Ed Royce, the “quiet giant” — too quiet to explain why shutting down the government is better than getting healthcare to people who need it.

Perhaps we shouldn’t spend too much time wondering why Ed Royce would join his Republican colleagues in taking such an extreme step just to stop the Affordable Care Act. I don’t blame him for not liking it. It’s not a good solution to the problem of massive numbers of people in this country having inadequate or no health care. It’s a compromise plan that needlessly keeps insurance companies involved, ensuring that profits are still funneled their way when the whole system could instead be operated as a non-profit for everyone’s benefit. But the Affordable Care Act would provide coverage for millions who currently have nothing, and in the states that have chosen to begin taking applications for it, it seems to be popular, which is exactly why Ed Royce and the Republican party cannot risk its full implementation.

If it turns out that the federal government can do something at least partially effective to address the healthcare crisis, then perhaps the government can be useful to ordinary Americans in other ways too. And if that’s true, then maybe government isn’t the problem Ronald Reagan said it was. Maybe it’s OK for the government to regulate toxins, protect wilderness, invest in clean renewable energy, provide education, and other things most people want, and tax really rich people to do it. Ed Royce can’t take that risk.

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