This is a very bad week for Congress. Paralysis reigns. Gridlock prevails. Accomplishments are nonexistent.
And the public gets it.
Let’s review where we are:
1) Two hundred and eighteen members of the House of Representatives have co-sponsored legislation to prevent insider stock trades by Congress. That, folks, is a majority. But Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorGOP shifting on immigration Breitbart’s influence grows inside White House Ryan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous GOP vote MORE (R-Va.) forces Rep. Spencer BachusSpencer BachusSpencer Bachus: True leadership The FDA should approve the first disease-modifying treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Study: Payday lenders fill GOP coffers MORE (R-Ala.) to pull the bill from getting marked up and passed. What?
2) The Republicans have decided to filibuster the president’s highly qualified nominee for the D.C. Court of Appeals, Caitlin Halligan. So much for the agreement of the Gang of 14, who attempted to stop the use of the filibuster for judicial appointments.
3). The Republicans filibustered Richard Cordray, whom they claim to like and respect, because they don’t like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Congress created. The president will assuredly appoint him as a recess appointment. Sadly, one in five, 20 percent of Obama’s appointments, have been held up by the Republicans. These are the top jobs in our government, unfilled.
4). Time is running out to continue to provide the middle class with the thousand-dollar tax cut they desperately need and to extend unemployment benefits. The Republicans seem to want to extend the temporary tax cuts to millionaires without paying for them and yet object to helping the middle class by demanding a host of extraneous riders and conditions.
Well, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
The trouble is, with these tactics and the nearly complete intransigence from the GOP, what goes around comes around.
Process matters. Trust matters. Integrity matters.
And right now there is precious little evidence that the mess that Congress has gotten itself into will disappear anytime soon. More filibusters, more holds on nominations, more rancor preventing compromise.
This is like the old nuclear arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The escalation of weapons, measures and countermeasures, put us all in danger of annihilation. We are seeing a similarly dangerous and destructive process unfold in the Congress. Will they have the common sense to step back from the brink? This last year does not make me optimistic.