Whoo hoo! So the threat of government shut down has been averted for...another week? Or until November 8?
Whoo the heck who! Who potty-trained these people? I'm sitting here with a copy of the US Constitution. Section 8 spells out the powers of Congress and the very first line says:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States...
But apparently modern Congress is reading this a different way:
Congress shall take an oath never to raise Taxes, especially on the people who donate to our campaigns; Congress will routinely threaten to default on debts authorized by previous Congresses and will do all possible to damage the faith and credit of the United States. Congress will ignore the greater good of the nation because it is time to go home and have a recess. Congress will argue over every "continuing resolution" and create crisis after crisis.
I've looked. I just don't see the above section in any part of the Constitution.
School children can and should enjoy recess. Adults, however, are required to work until the job is done. Congress has not passed a Budget in many, many years. A Budget says: here's how much money we have and here are the bills that have to be paid; here's where we will invest for the future and here's where we will cut back on what is not working. I know that unexpected things happen; when they do, one should pass special funding measures--put more money into disaster relief or fight a war. My problem is that Congress is not doing its job. The Congress is supposed to hash out priorities, root out corruption and look to the future.
Congress isn't doing this. In a previous blog, I talked about the effect of safe districts, the distraction of fund raising and the drag of Senate procedure. None of that crap is going to be fixed soon, so how do we, the voters, tap on Congress to get the stuck engine to restart?
Call and ask your Representative in the House why he is not in Washington when the work of the nation has not yet been done. Tell him you don't want to see his sorry ass in the district until Congress has passed a budget to fund the government for a full fiscal year.
House of Representatives -
(type your zip in the corner to look up your own member if you don't know)
Tell him that the Congressional gym needs to be padlocked, the hot water heaters turned off in the House and Senate bathrooms and legislative staff needs to be laid off before one productive government employee is cut loose. Tell him federal roads and bridges need to be repaired, no matter what, because we are stuck using the roads until Congress can come up with an alternative. Tell him air traffic controllers are still needed to keep order in the sky and effective security measures needed to keep passengers and planes safe. Tell him that the national park system is a treasure that puts money in the nation's pocket. The Grand Canyon and the foreign tourists it attracts is $$$$ in the bank now and for the future. Tell him that 600,000 top security clearances* is too many; that is wasteful, costly and no way to keep the nation's secrets. It is yet another symptom that Congress is not overseeing the nation's intelligence community. The list of good things that the government does is long, despite the critics of government.
Tell your member of Congress that just as a kid doesn't get a recess until his homework is done, he shouldn't be taking one until Congress does its first, most basic job: pass a budget! I'm not even calling for a balanced budget at this point! Pass a budget that allows the mundane work of the government to get done, the bills to get paid and then fight over the big areas where the right and left disagree. Until this basic task is done, members of the House should eat take-out in the Capitol, sleep on the floor of the Chamber and work without stopping UNTIL THE JOB is done.
Same goes for the Senate.
To my Congressman, I love you. You actually had the guts to vote against Bush's ill-advised war with Iraq. Sorry, but you should stay in school with all the bad kids and the class cut-ups and do all you can to help them do their job. It's one of those times that nobody graduates or gets a pass to the next grade UNTIL the job is done.
*Washington Post - Top Secret America