Archived Story

Botching moment in sun

Published 10:03am Friday, August 8, 2014

One unfortunate feature of the slow recovery in jobs from the Great Recession is that many folks found themselves in jobs for which their experience made them overqualified. It cannot be easy to have the ability to accomplish more than the demands and expectations of work.

Worse still, many have ended up in part-time work when they should have full-time work. Take for example the Republican-led House of Representatives. They have been in the lounge so long that they are now on vacation from doing nothing for this year’s Congressional session.

Unless there is a large passage of bills through Congress in the week or so in the September session this Congress is poised to be the least productive of the last 70 years. Of course that is no mean achievement after the previous Congress had set a record for low productivity, making this new low even more remarkable.

To be fair the House denies being a death bed for Senate-passed bills, though denials aside it is exactly that. And in their behalf it is only fair to note that the House has passed more than three hundred bills that have ended up making no new law.

Lest one think it easy to pass bills that go nowhere the Republicans have found some creative ways to work a couple of hours every week or so producing critical bills like the 50th attempt to repeal the now successful Obamacare.

They have had other notable failures to get their ideas approved by the Senate. One genius idea was a bill targeted to help workers by allowing employers to pay them in comp time off instead of overtime compensation. Hard to imagine why the Senate thought workers might not be thrilled to lose overtime in exchange for time off sometime in the future at the employers convenience.

But last week saw some of the best work of the House. After doing their very best to ignore the refugee crisis on our southern border the House decided, sort of, to act. But, Republicans divided by the rational and the Tea Party, could not craft a bill that would pass their own party with a majority.

To be fair it had to be difficult to be watching old movies, reading summer novels and preening for the camera’s and suddenly then to have to work a few hours on legislation important to the nation.

So the House Republicans botched their moment in the sun and failed to pass any bill.

But they could not even manage to fail without compiling a laughable summary to their failure. After passing a bill to sue the President for exceeding his executive authority by taking actions (something totally unacceptable in this House) the very next day, upon the failure to pass an immigration bill, Speaker Boehner told America that the president has enough executive authority to solve the border problem without Congressional action.

Yes the president Boehner sued on Monday for using executive authority was the same Boehner on Tuesday that demanded Obama use his presidential executive authority.

Yet this story still was not over. In an effort to forever alienate Hispanic voters the House returned the very next day to pass a bill so onerous that its intention was to deport young illegals called the dreamers, who have grown up in America and in 2012 were granted a deportation pass by the president.

That bill was their final act, and it, not surprisingly has zero chance of passing the Senate or any test of reason.

One has to wonder how the House members pass their days not legislating. Do they get tired of card games? Do they spend the afternoons making reservations at the good restaurants in D.C.?

No, more likely they play solitaire on their computers and watch House of Cards, a clearly fictional story of legislators actually working.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.

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