Monday, September 17, 2012

Congress Leaving Work Early With Job Incomplete

In 1960, both houses of Congress adjourned on September 1st in order to concentrate on elections and business back in their home states and districts.

This year, they intend to do the same. The stark difference is what they have accomplished.

In 1960, they passed the budget early and finalized all the more key bills and committee business before adjournment. They stayed late and worked hard to bring items to vote and get their jobs done.

In 2012, they are cutting out early for an election year. Both sides of the aisle as well as members of both the House and Senate have decided they won't be able to finish most of their pending business before the end of the session. So, with important legislation still pending, they have decided to pull up their tent stakes and head home at the end of this week, early.

Their intentions, particularly in the House, is to concentrate on campaigning for upcoming elections.

This is a trend set by the current administration. Obama pretty much stopped doing his job as a Senator in order to run for president. If people recall the housing bubble burst and the beginnings of this current (and extended) recession, Senators gathered in an emergency session, working late nights trying to agree on some form of legislation that would ease the pain. John McCain left his campaign trail, cancelling several key engagements, in order to hit the Senate floor and do his job. What did Obama do? He stayed out there campaigning instead of doing the job he was hired to do. The result? Americans seemed to appreciate laziness and empty rhetoric from a candidate over hard work and doing the actual job. Congress is not place for slackers. The same goes with the oval office. However, the voters backed the do-nothing slacker.

The example remains years later. With politicians on both sides worried more about who will be keeping their job come January, nobody will be doing their job. Even those who would like to dig in and work will not be able to since both houses have decided to adjourn this Friday.

Several important issues and bills will sit idle until after the elections. Among those are several tax bills, both ones increasing and those decreasing taxes. Defense legislation will sit idle. Several jobs bills will collect dust. Bills intended to fix the very broken US Postal Service won't be touched. Then there is the most important issue congress is responsible for:  the budget. The Obama Administration will maintain its 000 batting average with the budget. None will be voted on much less passed by Friday. Jamie Dupree from WSB Radio (Cox Media Group) compiled a nice list of all that won't be done.

Just like when they all ducked out for summer without getting their jobs done, here they all go again.