First things first – let’s waste our time

Back to work for Congress this week. First up: A “clips episode“, apparently.  Debate started today in an attempt to repeal last year’s health care bill.  This effort is being led by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), whose greatest hits include a desire to abolish the IRS, claiming the President is at least a Marxist who doesn’t understand American Experience, and this bizarre statement about babies, trashcans, and the health care.  It’s a symbolic waste of time – the Republicans in the House may have the votes, with a few Democrats coming along for good measure to pass their repeal, but it will die in the Senate.

They know this, but they don’t care.  Republicans are in charge and rather than governing, they want soundbites.  This is all about 2012 and the lack of Republican ideas.  Most Congresses can’t wait to get to work, using their majority to enact their ideas.  The 111th Congress got to work on health care reform, cap and trade, credit card reform, and more.  Not all of the bills made it and most were watered down – but it was work and it triggered a debate across the country.  the 108th Congress enacted “Do-Not-Call” legislation, the Bush tax cuts, and the Medicare Prescription Drug coverage plan.  Along with authorizing the war in Iraq.  Each Congress, especially one where the majority changes parties, is drastically different from the previous.  But they all look forward, except for the 112th Congress.

The problem is that there is work to be done.  We need Congress to lead.  State Legislatures and City Councils across the country are coming back to work and facing dire circumstances.  They are finding solutions where they can.  Illinois passed a 66% tax increase, cities are doing what they have to and it’s still not enough.  Our Congress, on the other hand is taking time to pass a symbolic repeal of a law that people actually like as they begin to understand it more.

There is other work to do.  Congress will need to raise the debt ceiling, which should be a wonderful debate about whose fault it is.  There will be a lost of bluster about needing to rein in our spending and learn our lesson.  Some members of the Republican caucus may even vote no.  But most will vote yes so we don’t become Greece.  They’ll also need to pass a budget.  The good thing is they already have some ideas:  Rand Paul, he’s a fun one.

The change in the House is depressing.  Not because Republicans took control and will use the House to advocate for their vision of America, but because they are using it to do nothing but fight lost battles.  The House has been the chamber that got things done while the Senate killed everything.  The House debated and the Senate prevaricated.  Now it looks like we’re stuck with two chambers waiting around for the next election.

Go us.

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