Wasting away in Washington
It seems everyone in Washington other than the president has written off this year as a year of little or no legislative accomplishment. Is it to be like last year, the year of the House of Representatives accomplishing as near to nothing as has been accomplished in 50 years?
In the song with the same opening words the wasting away is done with margaritas while searching for the seasoning of a lost shaker of salt. In Washington it might be searching for the olives in a martini while watching the tourists stroll by.
But in either case the traditional off-election year is foregone as a year of campaigning and passing no laws that would favor the opposition or diminish your own political party. This effectively means “do nothing” as a logo worn proudly.
As citizens we might wish to be heard on this historical theme, and we might want to suggest something as simple as “if you take the pay would you mind doing the job?”
So here are a few suggestions that Congress might want to consider instead of Wasting Away in 2014:
The debt ceiling comes up again this spring. Since the economy seems to be cooking along would you all mind just not doing anything. Certainly nothing like shutting the government down while you work out your testosterone issues and your female counterparts work quietly to resolve contentious issues?
There is a need to resolve our Immigration policies, both for going forward and for resolving how to handle 11 million who live here but have no legal status. Can we just get past the claim that we are sending 11 million out of the country, because we really won’t do that? Given that option is not real, why not figure out how to solve the problem?
Speaker Boehner has suggested he is open to working on this problem, though in smaller pieces than proposed by the Senate. Can anyone in Washington spell compromise?
The country needs work on the infrastructure (roads, bridges, airports, ports, rail et all) in order to remain competitive internationally and for safety of all Americans. Given the current low interest rates there may never be a better time to invest in fixing the inescapable problems of having bridges that do not fall into rivers and ports too shallow to dock newer ships.
Is it too much to ask for you all to work together (that compromise word again) to address these problems? We all promise to give both parties all the credit if they just get things fixed.
And while it might mean pushing away the martini and watching the tourists all covered in oil, would you mind maybe spending some time solving whatever problems come up in converting our health care system? Vice President Biden once said this is a really (expletive deleted) deal. That also means it will require additional adaption as it becomes fully enacted.
Now for those of you who have voted 40 plus times to end Obamacare this may create some challenges. But consider that there really is no turning back to refusing to insure some, setting limits on how much care you can have, refusing your wellness visits and closing the prescription donut hole.
There are other work events you might address of course, but mostly we hope you will work this year and earn your pay while actually helping America.
Wasting away can wait until your party wins everything.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.