The President traveled to Ground Zero yesterday where he honored those who lost their lives in the attacks on 9/11. Today he will fly to Fort Campbell, Kentucky where he will meet the Seal Team VI members who brought the perpetrator of those attacks to justice. This quiet private meeting will bring to a close the “official” ceremonies celebrating the death of the world’s most wanted man.
The country’s euphoria will no doubt continue for the next days and weeks. Eventually reality will sink in. The economy will still be in a ditch. Jobs will still be scarce. We will still be at war and extremists will still wish us harm. But as we ride the emotional roller coaster between the intense pride in this week’s accomplishments and the deep concern over our economic future there is one thing in which we can always be certain; the Congress of the United States of America will continue to operate as the dysfunctional weakest link of our government; forever shielded from the reality of its constituents by the fog of self preservation.
While the President was managing a slumping economy, overseeing two wars, preparing a major economic policy address, working with NATO to oust Gadhafi, addressing the needs of the victims of the recent tornados, campaigning for re-election, defending his birthright, and, oh yeah, authorizing the take down of the most wanted man on the planet; Congress was doing…nothing.
That’s not fair. Here is a list of their accomplishments since taking office in January:
- The Republican House passed four pieces of anti-abortion legislation that have zero chance of getting through the Senate.
- The Republican House passed legislation to defund the President’s Affordable Health Care Reform Act; legislation which has zero chance getting through the Senate.
- The Republican House passed the Ryan Budget Proposal; legislation which has zero chance of getting through the Senate. In fact after returning home to stinging criticism from their constituents they have returned to Washington to walk back key portions of the bill.
- The Republican House passed what is expected to be the first of three pieces of legislation designed to speed up offshore oil and gas drilling; even though they have not mandated any changes in the drilling procedures whose lapses caused the largest oil spill in US history. None of these bills has any chance of getting through the Senate.
- The Republican House voted down legislation which would have stopped $46 billion dollars in subsidies from being paid to the most profitable companies in the world…big oil. Had the House allowed this bill to pass it would have sailed through the Senate.
You may have noticed a major omission in this flurry of congressional activity…jobs. In spite of basing their entire 2010 campaign on the promise to increase jobs in America they have not proposed one piece of job creating legislation.
The events of this past week help us to remember all that is great about this country. The persistency, professionalism and courage demonstrated by members of our intelligence and military communities make us proud. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the members of Congress.