The Do-Nothing Congress of 2006

The Do-Nothing Congress of 1948 is about to be replaced as the most ineffective Congress in recent times. Today, just as in 1948, the American people are looking to Congress to tackle some very important issues----the war in Iraq, rising gas prices, rising college and health care costs, the economic uncertainty resulting from the outsourcing of high-paying American jobs and a record deficit that continues to spiral out of control.There is so much that this Congress could be working on right now, but House Republicans refuse to address any of these concerns. In fact, it's difficult to address the concerns of the American people when Congress is never in session.

I'm sure the American people will be shocked to hear that this is only the 36th day the House is scheduled to hold votes this year. With only 57 scheduled voting days until adjournment, the House is now on track to meet 15 days less than the first Do-Nothing Congress of 1948. No wonder the American people are so disgusted with Congress.



The House Republican majority is simply out of new ideas. Any time that a crisis hits, they throw out the same old ideas that haven't worked for them in the past and will not work for them in the future.

Case in point, this week House Republicans say they are finally ready to address the record gas prices Americans have been forced to pay every time they go to the gas station. So, what's the new idea House Republicans will bring to the floor this week----drilling in the Alaskan wilderness, the area known as the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. Sound familiar. That's right. You've heard it before. It's nothing new. And it will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help American consumers with the pain they now face at the pump. In fact, they wouldn't even be able to start drilling for oil there until a decade after a Congress gave its approval. Worse yet, ANWR only holds enough oil to provide six months of oil to the American consumer. This is not an energy solution.

So, why then do Washington Republicans choose to ignore the problem? Could it be that they have built such a cozy relationship with the CEOs of big oil that they are simply unwilling to break these bonds?

Unlike our Republican colleagues, House Democrats have offered some innovative and new ideas that are worth exploring. Last week, the Democratic Rural Working Group unveiled its ambitious plan to reduce our dependence on foreign petroleum and promote the production and use of clean, renewable energy here at home. It provides tax incentives to encourage increased biofuels production, expands the ethanol and biodiesel pumps at gas stations, and increases the number of "flex fuel" vehicles on the road.

As Americans prepare to travel this weekend for the Memorial Day holiday, they should know that Democrats are offering real solutions to high gas prices to protect the American consumer, not big oil. The American people are fed-up with the Republican Do Nothing Congress and are demanding change here in Washington, something that Republican's simply cannot deliver. It's time for fresh ideas. It's time for Democrats to take control of this House so that the needs of all Americans are once again addressed on this House floor, rather than just the corporate interests.