Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Do Nothing

(Editorial cartoon by Joel Pett / Lexington Herald-Leader (August 7, 2012) and featured at McClatchy DC. Click on image to enlarge and then kindly return.)

Congress is on vacation. Again. When our representatives return in a few weeks, there will be less than two months before the election, and then about two months remaining in the 112th Congress. In other words, not too much of any real substance will be accomplished.

That is not too surprising, after all. Not too much beyond the ACA has been enacted since 2008. And as far as I can see, both sides of the aisle have engaged in political posturing and dithering to avoid any meaningful legislation since 2010. I'm not alone in that assessment, as this CNN article from back in June makes clear.

According to a CNN analysis of congressional records that looked at bills that became law and the number of days lawmakers worked, members of the House have spent more than 150 days and Senate just over 140 days in session so far, comparable to previous Congresses at this point in the term.

But of the thousands of measures introduced, only 132 passed both. About one-fifth of those measures were to approve official names for post offices.

In the previous Congress, the House worked 286 days and the Senate worked 349 days. That Congress passed 383 bills, according to Library of Congress records. Each Congress spans a two-year cycle.

The logjam means important pieces of legislation -- such as the transportation funding bill and measures to address high student loan rates and, yes, even the budget -- haven't passed. ...

At this point, the foot-dragging and finger-pointing is all about embarrassing the other party, [Thomas Mann, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution] said.

"It is about generating blame for something, about trying to put the other side in a difficult political position."
[Emphasis added]

All of this "foot-dragging and finger-pointing" is mostly because there is an election coming up, but there are other elements involved: keeping the wealthy business donors happy and keeping defense contractors happy have always been a priority.

These yahoos are getting over $100,000 a year in salary and thousands more in benefits to work part-time to accomplish nothing.

Nice gig, eh?



Blogger John Gardner said...

Isn't the only purpose of politicians these days to get re-elected? It seems that the campaigning for re-election starts the day after you're sworn in.

like president, we need term limits for congress. 3 turns in the house, 2 turns in the senate, 2 turns as president, done. That would still allow you 6+12+8=26 years of federal public service. That's more than enough time to get stuff done.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

I have to admit: that's beginning to sound like a necessary remedy for what ails us.

We have term limits in the state government and many local governments in California. While there are some draw-backs (inexperience in the finer points of procedures), it has certainly not been disastrous over all.

Sometimes you do say something I can agree with.


1:27 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home