Both sides at faultPublished 10:16am Friday, September 21, 2012
Perhaps nothing was more predictable than that Congress would adjourn this week until after the November elections — without addressing some of the nation’s most significant issues. While avoiding a compromise on major spending and tax measures provided some political cover for incumbents seeking re-election, it certainly did nothing to help the American people.
Voters would do well to ask themselves — and Congressional candidates, if they encounter any — why after months of debate there is no Farm Bill. That bill, which touches the way the government interacts with many aspects of farming and food, should have become law in some form months ago. Partisan differences have held it up. Even more alarmingly, Congress has yet to address the looming expiration of some key provisions of the tax code with a possible result that the average American would see 5 percent more of his or her pay withheld for federal income taxes beginning Jan. 1.
Republican incumbents and challengers point their finger at Democrats and Democrats do the same to Republicans — and the truth is both sides are correct. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been unwilling to compromise, the result being that they are not really governing at all, although they all get to position themselves to voters as sticking up for… well, for whatever political philosophy the voters seem most to want.
Eventually, compromise will be needed. At this point, it looks like it will be another last-minute deal which is certain to produce far-from-ideal results. The question every lawmaker and every challenger should answer now is this: What will you do, if you are elected, to break down Washington’s partisan roadblock?