A repeat ahead?
From here in the middle of the United States, Washington’s latest fiasco — a Congress so divided that it can’t agree on emergency help for natural disaster victims — looks alarmingly like a replay of what Minnesota’s legislature and governor went through earlier this week. And, just as in the Minnesota episode, it looks like the big losers will be the very folks our leaders are supposed to be working to help.
On Wednesday, 48 Republicans in the House joined forces with Democrats to defeat a bill that Republican leaders had put together to provide emergency disaster aid. The meltdown painted a stark picture of a Congress where bickering within political parties — much less the bitter fights between parties — has become so serious that conducting the nation’s business is nearly impossible.
Representatives, senators and presidents are all expert at blaming their political foes for such setbacks. In one rather hilarious attempt to do so on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner blamed Democrats for the decision of 48 ultra-conservative Republicans to not support Boehner’s disaster aid bill. The reality is that every single lawmaker is personally responsible for the state of affairs in Congress. Those who aren’t part of the politically fueled fighting are complicit because they have done little to change the situation.
By the time this editorial is in print, the disaster aid measure may be back on track. Or maybe not. Regardless, Congress demonstrated again this week that its members would rather play politics than do what is necessary to lead the nation. For anyone keeping score, that’s another point to remember in November 2012.