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Why Congress Should Be Furloughed Too

Let’s face it folks, if anyone deserves to be furloughed these days it’s obviously the U.S. Congress. The so-called “People’s House” has become a house of shame – a “Do Nothing” Congress.

Our august national legislative body has turned its back on the American people for partisan political purposes and personal political self-interest. Our broken Congress gives a bad name to America’s cherished democratic form of governance.

Today’s Congress is totally dysfunctional and cannot, or will not, address the major problems confronting America. In fact, Congress has only succeeded in making a bad situation worse, to our collective detriment.

Indifferent & Negligent

Our purported “legislators” on Capitol Hill have failed miserably in their job duties. In fact, the Congress has not only been indifferent, but negligent to the very Americans who elected them to serve with honor and distinction — both of which have been in short supply.

To the contrary, all this Congress has shown is petty partisan politics. This Congress has put public safety at risk by spinelessly implementing sequestration and triggering federal furloughs.

Perilous Problems

Draconian and needless across-the-board budget cuts to federal agencies and critically important domestic programs — buttressed by the subsequent furlough of the federal workforce — have resulted in, among other perilous problems:

  • Fewer food safety inspections,
  • Less law enforcement and national security,
  • Cuts to vital youth education programs like Head Start,
  • Cuts to “Meals on Wheels” which helps the most indigent citizens eat,
  • Decimating by 80% the U.S. Army’s training program.

Moreover, it gets even worse. It’s shameful and unconscionable that some Medicare recipients stricken by cancer reportedly cannot even get chemotherapy due to cuts in the Medicare reimbursement rate for doctors that treat them — a potentially deadly outcome of the sequester.

And let’s not forget those long lines at the airport…the list goes on and on.

But wait, Congress actually did swiftly pass legislation – a rare feat – ending the furlough of air traffic controllers just at the very time lawmakers recessed for a week-long vacation. This is pathetically ironic. Congress sure has some nerve.

The plain spoken and candid Sen. John McCain told NBC News while catching a flight out of Dodge City at Reagan National:

I don’t have to now wear a mask or disguise as I go through the airport, I’m happy to say.”

And he really wasn’t joking. At least the guy’s honest and real.

“All politics is local”

It’s outrageous for American taxpayers to get hurt while members of Congress who are responsible remain virtually unaffected and indifferent to the situation – that is, unless or until it personally affects them or their constituents back home at the local level.

You know that famous saying, “All politics is local” – coined by former House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, who worked together with President Reagan to move America forward, just as numerous Presidents and Congress of different parties have done throughout history.

Yes, millennials, you heard correctly. A long time ago, in a Congress far away, Republicans and Democrats once worked cooperatively to reach legislative compromise and consensus for the good of the American people — because that’s how it’s supposed to work in a well functioning democracy.

But not today — not this Congress with some members allegedly more concerned with damaging the Obama Presidency than fixing America’s long list of pending problems.

They won’t be missed

Regardless of their selfish motives, this Congress likewise deserves to be furloughed for an extended time period. My guess is no one would miss them, except perhaps the K Street crowd of national lobbyists whom members of Congress have in their back pockets — and vice versa.

Congress should be held accountable and take responsibility for all the political paralysis and broken government on Capitol Hill. Our elected officials in Congress are the ones who have dismally failed to perform their jobs. So why aren’t they being furloughed like other feds?

Why are hard working and dedicated federal civil servants — not to mention the American people — being punished instead of Congress which caused this mess? It’s the same old Washington blame game, albeit the superficiality of which most Americans can see right through.

Federal employees are the ones who pledge their lives and careers to patriotically serving the American people through good times and bad. Yet we are the ones on the firing line for no fault of our own.

Why? The answer is simple:

We have a Congress full of cowards putting party above country and political self-interest above the national interest.

DBG

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* All views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only.

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Profile Photo Megan

Don’t forget to add mandatory drug testing. If it’s good enough for welfare recipients, it’s good enough for Congress.

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Profile Photo Dick Davies

I think they are trying to deal with a massively changed environment and changed needs with 110% of available funds tied to legacy programs of dubious value. Even figuring out how to go forward is tough work, not what they signed up for.

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Profile Photo Megan

A paragraph from my blog: http://dad-memorial.blogspot.com/

“Here is a recent article about the correlation between public debt and economic growth. Economists have been astonished to find that a famous academic paper often used to make the case for austerity cuts contains major errors. Another surprise is that the mistakes, by two eminent Harvard professors, were spotted by a student doing his homework. It seems counterintuitive that wiping out government jobs and programs would help to invigorate the economy, leading instead to more global unemployment. Given the plethora of data showing unprecedented gaps between the rich and the poor, I would like to see an infusion of new tax dollars coming in from under-taxed companies and wealthy citizens over the next decade and beyond.”

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Profile Photo Henry Brown

You get what you voted for! Seriously not at all certain that even most of the blame goes to this less than adequately performing congress, they are only doing as the voters/campaign donors have requested that they do.

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Profile Photo Ami Wazlawik

Actually, I don’t think we necessarily get what we vote for. There’s a big difference between a candidate campaigning and an elected official governing. The values and promises touted during a campaign don’t necessarily correlate with what happens when a candidate is elected. It’s easy to say things during a campaign, not so easy to follow through on them when faced with opposition and the need to compromise in order to get things done.

Not to mention the huge changes we’ve seen in the last few years regarding campaign funding. Too many of our politicians, whether they like to admit it or not, seem to be more concerned with doing the bidding of lobby groups, corporations, and other big money/powerful donors than the American people, who they are supposed to “represent.”

You summed it up nicely in the last line of this piece, David.

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Profile Photo David B. Grinberg

Interesting observations, Ami. Thanks for sharing your perspective and common sense approach. I strongly agree that we must get money and lobbying out of politics if we want to really fix the system. Until then, not much will change — sad but true.

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Profile Photo David B. Grinberg

FYI: According to CAP (the Center for American Progress):

  • Sequestration’s impact is unquestionably negative, and Congress should take steps to end it.”
  • “According to the Congressional Budget Office, sequestration could cost the economy 750,000 jobs and reduce GDP growth by 1.5 percent.”
  • “But the narrow focus on whether or not planes leave on time indicates that, “We’ve got our priorities upside down,” according to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).”
  • “Congress should instead focus on all of sequestration’s impacts and replace the required across-the-board cuts with a balanced approach to spending cuts and increased revenue.”

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Profile Photo David B. Grinberg

According to the New York Times:

Almost Half of Americans Say Budget Cuts Will Hurt Economy

  • Nearly half of Americans agree with the Obama administration’s contention that the economy will be hurt by the spending cuts prompted by the sequestration, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

  • Just 1 in 10 said the automatic cuts would help the economy.

  • In his news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Obama said that his administration’s disaster warnings about the economic effects of the automatic spending cuts were not overblown: “It’s slowed our growth, it’s resulting in people being thrown out of work, and it’s hurting folks all across the country.”

  • The poll results showed that the sentiment that the cuts will hurt the economy was shared by Republicans, Democrats and independents alike.

  • The nationwide telephone survey was conducted from April 24 to 28 on both land lines and cellphones with 965 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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