"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Monday, August 6, 2012

More on the Do Nothing Congress and their Five Week Break

If members of Congress want to know why they are rated so low by the American people read this paragraph from John Avlon:
But as we see each session, the desire to go home for a regularly scheduled vacation seems to drive legislation even more than any objective sense of common responsibility to solve a problem. No wonder the best of Congress are bailing out. As Ohio Republican Steve LaTourette put it to Roll Call, “For a long time now, words like compromise have been considered to be dirty words. And there are people on the right and the left who think that if you compromise you’re a coward, you’re a facilitator, you’re an appeaser.”
Congressman LaTourette has been one of the most reliable members of Congress for common sense and has had it today with the left and the right who don't understand they were elected to Congress to fix the problems not be the unappeasables as we are seeing today.  The 'my way or no way' crowd from both sides care more about their own future and playing up to lobbyist and donors then they do working for the American people.
Hyperpartisan politics and election-driven self-interest keep getting in the way of actually governing in the national interest. A quick flip through a history book shows that divided congresses don’t need to be this dysfunctional—but the play-to-the-base jokers in this congressional class would rather splash around on summer vacation than do their job.
Fiddling while Rome burned at least provided background music. If members of Congress don’t feel the urgency to work together to solve the urgent problems we all face, then there is a solution: fire them in the fall so they can enjoy a permanent vacation. 
Couldn't agree more to fire this group of obstructionists who only play to the donors and base of both parties.  We have a major drought across the Country that the Farm Bill would help and was passed in a bi-partisan manner in the Senate but not in this partisan House -- still sitting there.  In a bad economy the Republicans in the House want to drastically cut the food stamp program while continuing to make sure their donors get their perks from the Farm Bill.  

Once again, the Republicans in the House want a new tank in the DoD budget that the Army doesn't want.  Wonder which defense contractor donor wants to make sure he gets a tank contract even when the DoD says NO!  Are you going to believe the House Republicans on Armed Services that the Army needs the tank or the Army.  My money is on the Army because I don't trust members of Congress on both sides not to sell out in today's lobbying/big donor arena.

How can these members of Congress even have the nerve to take a 5-week vacation and have Town Halls in their districts?  The American people need to evict these members from Congress who are willing to throw the American people under the bus with their obstructionists tactics if they don't get their way.  They are elected to Congress to represent everyone in their district or state for Senators but that seems lost on a large number of them.

One thing I have learned from this Congress is that you never want a House or Senate with an overwhelming number of one party.  Both Houses run much better when it is more evenly divided.  Republicans in the Senate should be ashamed of all the filibusters in the Senate stopping needed legislation.  The clincher for me is when Republican Minority Leader McConnell wanted to attach Repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act  (AHA) onto the Cyber Security bill when it has absolutely nothing to do with the bill.  Disgusting pandering to the far right.  The pandering in the Senate to the far left is just as bad.  The House has pandered to the far right 33 times on repeal and replace of Obamacare aka AHA.  There is one slight problem -- House Republicans don't have a replacement bill and their pandering has cost the American taxpayers $50 million with those 33 votes knowing full well it was a waste of time.
There are honorable exceptions—particularly the House members from both parties who rationally argued that they hadn’t earned their summer break just yet.
The vote to adjourn failed in the House in a 150-265 with 15 not voting.  There were 78 Republicans who voted with all the Democrats not to adjourn.  Looks like the vote made zero difference as members of Congress left town anyway to begin a five week vacation.  Connie Mack who is running for the FL Senate voted not to adjourn.   What a novel thought that you don't get a vacation when you don't do your job.

This article speaks for me and many Americans who believe that both sides of the aisle in Congress has members who would rather play to their far right and left bases along with the lobbyists and big donors rather than do the work of the American people.  This is the Congress of the United States not the Student Council which is the way they are acting.  Time for members of both parties to work together for the good of the American people.  If they cannot handle that thought then they need replaced with elected members of Congress who do understand that the extreme partisan politics we see today from both sides needs to stop.
Congress Is Taking Another Vacation? Seriously? 
Lawmakers are departing town for a five-week break, leaving critical legislation behind. John Avlon on why we need to fire the jokers who’d rather play games than fix problems. 
Five full weeks of summer vacation have just begun for members of Congress. That’s after nine full weeks off so far this year—and the House gets six more away before the election. All that time off, a sweet health-care plan, and quasi-fame as well. Is this a good gig or what? 
But most folks only take time off when they get their job done—and that definitely isn’t the case for the 112th Congress. 
While Midwest farmers suffer through the worst drought in decades, the House left a bipartisan farm bill passed by the Senate sitting on the table. Certainly, there’s room for improvement in that traditionally pork-filled appropriation bill. But make the improvements and pass the damn bill—the all-or-nothing tug-of-war between the perfect and the good doesn’t help people who need it now.  
Even more resonant to anyone who uses the post office (which is just about everyone) is the fact that our once-proud USPS is about to default on a $5.5-billion payment. This has been a slow-motion implosion, and the Senate got its act together to pass a bipartisan bill months ago that would help avoid default. But the House had different priorities. Instead, the chamber found time to rename 60 post-office branches and attempted to repeal the health-care law for the 33rd time.
It’s hard to tell whether this is just lazy or malevolent, but small-government advocates of gridlock are going to have a hard time explaining to people on Main Street how maintaining the post office isn’t an essential role of government. Reform is the opposite of inaction. If these bipartisan bills that passed the Senate are in need of fixing, then fix ’em—or take responsibility for the looming failure. 
Of course, the Senate has its own embarrassments to be held accountable for—and I’m not just talking about Harry Reid invoking Romney’s dad in a cheap campaign attack. The fact that Senate Republicans filibustered a bipartisan attempt to pass a cyber-security bill is not just an indignity, but a dereliction of duty. 
We can’t wait for a digital Pearl Harbor to take this 21st-century threat seriously, but the siren song of special interests once again distracted from the national interest. The fact that some senators treated the amendment process as a Christmas tree for their own priorities (like Sen. Chuck Schumer, who attached a post-Aurora gun-control provision onto the bill) also didn’t help the prospects of passage. But this epic failure could have serious national-security consequences.
The U.S. House of Representatives will be empty for August. (Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images)
Speaking of national security, talk about avoiding the sequestration—that “fiscal cliff” of budget cuts set to kick in early next year—has taken up much of the energy of this Congress in recent days, especially (and ironically) from fiscal conservatives like Rep. Jeb Henserling, who co-chaired the Super-Fail committee that led directly to the imposition of the cuts. At issue now is the $500 billion of defense cuts that were paired with domestic discretionary cuts to make this hatchet job so unpalatable. 
But when the House Armed Services Committee actually appropriates more money than the Pentagon is asking for (for a tank they don’t want, but defense contractors do) it’s hard to take their alleged quest for fiscal discipline seriously. The fact that the House GOP passed an alternative bill to pass all the sequester cuts onto entitlements only adds insult to the injury. 
If Congress is truly concerned about the looming fiscal cliff or the impact of the sequestration cuts on defense, they should damn well do something about it. No one else in the country gets to avoid doing their job because of the rationalization that nothing is likely to get done until after the election. We all know that a balanced plan—like Bowles-Simpson, with spending cuts, revenue increases, and entitlement reform—is needed to deal with deficits and debt. Hoping for an ideological Armageddon of an election isn’t going to change that. 
All of which is to say that this Congress seems determined to deserve their rock-bottom approval ratings. 
This epic failure could have serious national-security consequences.
He’s right. And there’s no rational reason to expect that it’s going to get better in the near future. The polarization of the parties has empowered all-or-nothing absolutists, particularly on the Republican side of the aisle. That’s why Congress is in serious need of fundamental rules reform, like forcing senators once again to enact a filibuster in person on the floor, rather than have it be a routine parliamentary maneuver. 
Excerpt: Read More at The Daily Beast

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