Tuesday, January 01, 2013

"Congress Is The Biggest Threat To America's Economy"

“Something has gone terribly wrong,” said Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, “when the biggest threat to our American economy is the American Congress.”

... a fundamental ideological chasm between the majority of lawmakers and an empowered group of Congressional Republicans — fueled by some Tea Party victories in both chambers in 2010 — has made it more difficult than ever to reach fiscal and budgetary compromises.
Each fight has left Democrats and Republicans both more distrustful and wary of working together, each in search of a voter mandate to push its vision to the fore. In some ways, that dynamic has come full circle.
In 2011, right after their big midterm victory, Republicans were able to push Democrats out of their comfort zone on spending, using short-term measures to keep the government open and the debt ceiling as weapons against the Obama administration. After the 2012 election, Democrats are using that same strategy to tear Republicans from their orthodoxy on taxes, and the Republicans’ pain is evident.
As a result, members of both parties have become increasingly addicted to short-term solutions to long-term problems, cobbling together two- and three-month bills and short-term extensions to fight over again and again until the string has run out on many major pressing issues.
Also, a change in the way this Congress does business — the elimination of home-state earmarks that once greased so many Congressional deals — and the escalating use of the Senate filibuster to prevent debate on even routine legislation have further hamstrung lawmakers in their efforts to get anything done.
“This is one of the lowest points of the U.S. Senate,” Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland, remarked as she ticked off what she said were other nadirs in a long Senate career. “This is what we’re doing to ourselves.”

No comments: