With the constant stupidity flowing from the Romney campaign it is very easy for those of us who write and blog about politics to spend all of our time pointing out the problems with the Presidential election. I wanted to take a minute and speak about the races in this election that are just as important as the Presidential race, but not discussed as often.
This year, there are 468 seats up for election between the House of Representatives and the Senate. The breakdown of the seats up for grabs puts control of both houses of Congress in question. With the disaster that was the 112th Congress, we have to pray that the voters are smart enough to make a change. Bear in mind that, no matter who the President is, Congress must still pass the laws that govern our country. This makes the Congressional elections easily as important, or possibly even more important, than the Presidential election.
It is common knowledge that this Congress is probably one of the most politically polarized in history. It’s not much of a surprise. When Republicans took over control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections, Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell stated, “the single most important thing [Republicans] want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Whether they achieve their goal has yet to be determined, but they have definitely done everything in their power to make sure that the government has been in a holding pattern. The question one should ask when going to the polls is – why?
The answer is evident in the Republican campaign. Republicans have become fond of asking, “are you better off than you were four years ago?” The idea is to blame President Obama for not getting anything accomplished to improve the country. The problem with this is that the lion’s share of the fault lies with Congress. Let’s look at what they’ve done…or, more accurately, what they haven’t done in the last two years.
The 112th Congress has the fewest public bills enacted into law since the statistics have been kept in 1947. They have passed 173 public bills into law as of August 31, 2012. The lowest number of bills passed prior to this session was in the 104th Congress when Newt Gingrich and Republicans were squaring off against President Clinton; however, even that Congress managed to pass 333 public bills into law. Is it coincidence that this seems to happen when Republicans are refusing to work with Democratic leaders in Clinton and Obama? I think not.
The following laws that were meant to help the public have been stalled by Congressional Republicans:
The Paycheck Fairness Act – meant to “bar companies from retaliating against workers who inquire about pay disparities and open pathways for female employees to sue for punitive damages in cases of paycheck discrimination.”
The Disclose Act of 2012 – would have required independent groups who spend unlimited amounts of money on attack ads during elections to disclose the names of donors who contribute more than $10,000.
Bring Jobs Home bill – intended to reward companies for bringing jobs from overseas back to the United States, a practice termed “insourcing.” The bill would also have ended the tax deductions that companies could take on the costs of moving jobs out of the country.
The most insulting move by this Congress is that they announced that Congress was adjourning on Friday, September 21. This is the earliest that Congress has adjourned since 1960. That Congress passed 800 public bills into law before adjourning. Congressional leaders – particularly Republican Congressional leaders – seem to be more interested in punishing the opposing party and campaigning than running the country.
In a response to the comments made recently by Romney over the “47 percent” of people who are dependent on the government, Representative Phil Roe recently stated, “we’ve got 105 million people who receive some (welfare) transfer payment…Some of what these people pass off for work doesn’t pass the laugh test.” I don’t know if I would call Congressional paychecks welfare payments, but the pitiful excuse that these legislators pass off for work definitely doesn’t pass the laugh test.
While we’re busy discussing Ryan and Romney’s faults, make sure you take a minute before the election to look at the Congressional seats in your state. If the same conservative Representatives and Senators are allowed to continue their destructive reign in Congress, we will see nothing but partisan politics being played at the expense of the American people.