The nation’s Congress is currently one of the institutions with the worst reputations among the people. It has earned this bad image by failing to reflect in its actions the major concerns of Americans.
An example of this is the decision in the House of Representatives to work for three days and then take almost two months of vacation. Of course, during that time they will be campaigning full-time.
But taxpayers do not pay lawmakers’ salaries for them to spend most of their time on break. It’s enough to remember that they only recently returned from an extended summer vacation, the likes of which very few average Americans can enjoy.
Last Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor decided that there would be no session in October, leaving the lower chamber in recess until after the November elections.
The lawmaker explained the decision by saying that they had already passed the law to continue funding the federal government until after the election, as if that were enough.
It is true that Republican members of Congress acted quickly on the budget, rather than threatening a government shut-down. The approaching elections are helping them act responsibly, but not overly so.
The long recess means that a number of laws will be left hanging: the new farm bill, held up in the House by disputes among Republicans; the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act; a jobs bill; and a bill to help veterans find work, among others.
Also pending, like a threatening storm cloud, are the imminent automatic spending reductions that could cause further damage to the economy beginning next year.
We believe that, in spite of the presidential election, our nation’s delicate situation requires everyone to chip in, even Congress. Farmers and the unemployed deserve better.
It is also ironic that those who really do not believe that government can be positive are obstinately proving themselves right through their own bad example and irresponsibility.