The Norman Transcript

August 9, 2013

Congress’ pace is tiring

By Sam Pollak
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Exhausted from a nonstop regimen of doing nothing, members of Congress — the best politicians money can buy — are badly in need of a vacation.

The poor dears are absolutely pooped, having not passed an immigration bill … or a farm bill … or a transportation and housing bill … or a reasonable gun-control bill … or come up with a plan to allow the U.S. to pay its bills.

So while thousands of Americans suffer under unnecessary sequestration, Congress is taking five weeks off.

It will be rather difficult to tell the difference.

Each legislative proposal made by President Obama — even those incorporating traditional Republican ideas — is dead on arrival in the House of Representatives.

Last week, the president proposed cutting the corporate tax rate — something Republicans have been wanting for a long time — and use the expected new revenue for worker training and to invest in jobs making infrastructure improvements.

The Republicans wouldn’t take “yes” for an answer.

“This proposal allows President Obama to support President Obama’s position on taxes and ... spending, while leaving small businesses and American families behind,” House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman told Roll Call, the Capitol Hill blog that records all things political.

So, with all the problems facing the country they profess to love, in the last week before their recess, House Republicans hurried to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare. Again.

It is the 40th time they have wasted time and money knowing full well that the repeal stood no chance in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Meanwhile, in that Senate, a faction of Tea Party Republicans wants to shut down the government if that’s what it would take to kill Obamacare. That potentially politically suicidal idea was immediately rejected by the Republicans’ common sense caucus.

Americans crave the comity, dignity and reasonable debate that used to be a hallmark of the Senate. They desire achievement and honorable compromise over party politics. A case in point is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

His approval rating is close to 70 percent and is considered a frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.

He’s combative to the point of being coarse and is not the least bit reluctant to fire back at anyone who criticizes him. Yet he’s popular in blue New Jersey because in October, when Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast , Christie put his constituents ahead of politics, including his support for Mitt Romney. He worked side-by-side with Obama to get New Jersey federal aid it needed.

While all those Washington lawmakers are on vacation, it would be nice if they took a lesson from Christie and decided to give turmoil and gridlock a rest, too.

Sam Pollak is the editor of The Daily Star in Oneonta, N.Y.