Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Meet the new boss...same as the old boss"

While you were sleeping the 113th session of the Congress of the United States of America recessed for the final time. Lawmakers headed for home with the knowledge they had participated in the least productive session of congress in American history. During the past two years the 113th managed to pass just over 200 bills. You have to go back to 1947 to find a more unproductive bunch. Harry Truman labeled that session “the do nothing congress.” They passed over 900 bills.

“Thank God it’s over” exclaimed Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) as he headed for the exit.

Amen to that.

While the 113th may have ended there is unfortunately little reason to believe the 114th session will be any different.

Depending on whom you talk to, voters handed Republicans control of both chambers of congress ostensibly for one of two reasons: to halt the president’s agenda and/or to end the gridlock that has paralyzed congress for the past few years. The voters want to see progress. It appears at first blush that they may be disappointed.

Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have promised to collaborate on legislation that will attempt to tear down President Obama’s accomplishments “piece by piece...bit by bit.” Should Republicans act on that promise President Obama will certainly be waiting with veto pen in hand. The president's decision to “go it alone” on immigration reform are a sure sign that he has no intention of bowing to the newly elected legislative branch. Those who protest that “elections matter” might consider the Republican response to the president’s two resounding victories in 2008 and 2012.

What does all of this mean? It means is that there is little chance that any substantive piece of legislation will be passed during the president’s final two years in office. It would appear that the 114th will look very much like the 113th.

The American people have spoken. They voted for “divided government.” To the victor go the spoils.

Welcome to the 114th session of the Congress of the United States Congress. Where the good of the country is an afterthought…and progress goes to die.

“Meet the new boss…same as the old boss.”

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