Congress has come back from Thanksgiving to a to-do list that is long and will encapsulate debate between the parties in a convenient one month time frame. Not only will we see action on a Treaty, but also taxes, unemployment, continued funding for the government and other bills that include expansion of the FDA, the First Lady’s healthy food bill and others.
All of this shows that as we look back on the Congress for the last couple of years, we could label them as a “do nothing” Congress. Why else would there be so much to do after the election if they had actually done their jobs. That label may be inaccurate, though as we look at what this Congress has done. They have passed the controversial Stimulus Bill and passed the beyond controversial healthcare debacle. Clearly they’ve done something.
The infuriating thing about all of this is that the Congress clearly has not learned the lesson of the election. Those that are about to leave town are still clinging to the idea that the people agree with them. They continue to stand against tax cut extensions for everyone and unemployment extensions, both of which are rather popular with people of any walk of life.
So what will come out of this Congress in the next month? I would predict hot air and infighting, with a couple of important bills sent through. The Bush Tax Cuts will see an extension. Likely it will be for a couple of years so the next Congress can deal with it. Unemployment benefits will see a temporary extension so the next Congress can deal with it. On top of that, we’ll see a funding bill for the federal government that will be a short term fix so the next Congress can deal with it.
I think all of this lends itself to the name for this Congress that will stick when history looks back: “The Kick The Can Congress.” Think about it. They merely intend to send things to the next Congress so they have to do all of the heavy lifting. All of these bills will see temporary action, but think too about what they did pass. Stimulus borrowed money so a future Congress could deal with the debt that was created. Obamacare created debt and didn’t even come into effect until 2014, ensuring that this unpopular bill will need the attention of the next Congress.
Hopefully Speaker Designate Boehner and Republican leaders are paying attention to what the people want, which in the end is to get things done that needed to be done. This Congress has not and it will be their legacy. The next Congress clearly doesn’t want that kind of label as they try to solve the problems that the previous group of clowns kicked down the line to them.