Monday, November 24, 2014

"...they went home!"

If you follow the news you know that the congressional response to the president’s executive action on immigration reform contained a level of hyperbolic vitriol that can only be classified as incendiary. Congress was so incensed by the president’s actions it seemed that calls for his impeachment might actually find purchase. Pundits sat on pins and needles eagerly awaiting a congressional body blow response to the president’s offensive tactics.

Congress did respond…but not exactly in the way pundits expected.

Friday night marks the end of the weekly news cycle. The week is over…the Saturday news cycle is slow…no one is really paying close attention to the inner workings of Washington. Friday night is the time when political operatives like to release bad news. It’s the time when they release information that is damaging in some fashion to their cause with the hope that no one will notice. The Friday night information dump is commonly referred to in Washington parlance as: “Put it out with the trash.” It seldom works but they do it anyway.

Last Friday night congress responded to the “constitutional crisis” caused by the president’s actions in a curious way.

First off, buried amidst all the inane press releases and minutia in last Friday night’s news dump was the Republican led Judiciary Committee on Oversight’s final report on the “Benghazi Crisis.” After two years of multiple congressional hearings, hate speech, conspiracy theories, accusations of treason and tens of millions of tax payer dollars, the committee found…


No evidence of a White House cover-up. No evidence of wrong doing on the part of the State Department. No evidence of failure on the part of the military to respond; just the fact that a series of horrific and tragic circumstances resulted in the deaths of four Americans.

The lame duck congress also announced that it would only be in session for eight days over the rest of the year.

That’s it! That was the legislature's follow up to their hair on fire reaction to the president’s executive action on immigration reform. Raise hell and then do...


And then they went home!

Yes, they went home early for the holiday.

If congress was serious about the legalities and seriousness of the president’s executive actions they could have crafted a substantive response.

Instead they went home.

Eighteen months ago the senate passed a bipartisan bill on immigration reform. Passage in the House is all but assured. All Speaker Boehner needs to do is allow a vote in the House to pass the measure and the president’s executive actions would be rendered null and void.

Instead they went home.

The country is at war with ISIS. Congress needs to take up a vote to ratify the president’s actions or demand he bring the troops home.

Instead they went home.

“60 Minutes” just aired a report that 70,000 of our bridges are in such a bad state of repair that they are considered “structurally deficient.” Our airports and shipping ports are in equally bad shape. Everyone on both sides of the aisle agrees that we need to repair and upgrade our infrastructure. They question is where do we get the money. Given that the government will run out of money on December 11 congress could have entered into debate over ways to include an infrastructure bill into the continuing resolution.

Instead they went home.

A continuing resolution to keep the government running must be passed by December 11. Rather than engage in last minute political brinksmanship and threats of government shutdowns that only serve to heap worry on the millions who rely on the government; congress could have voted on the continuing resolution and put the matter to rest.

Instead they went home.

Our education system is failing our children. Our children continue to rank in the middling middle of all other industrialized countries in the areas of reading and math. Congress could have stuck around to discuss ways that we might improve our education system so that our children might better compete on the world stage.

Instead they went home.

Even though our economy is steadily improving the positive result have yet to find their way to the middle class or working poor. Congress could have hung around and had a serious discussion about raising the minimum wage or equal pay for equal work.

Instead they went home.

Our country faces a long list of problems. If congress would put as much effort and energy into governing as they do in crafting hate speech and conspiracy theories we would all be better off.

No comments:

Post a Comment