New Congress / Need to Move Beyond Congressional Dysfunction

Jan 10, 2015

New Congress / Need to Move Beyond Congressional Dysfunction

The 114th Congress convened on January 6 with Republican majorities now in control of both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate.  The question on many people’s mind is whether it will now be possible for Congress to set aside the partisan dysfunction that has gripped the legislative branch for the last four years – where lawmakers spun their wheels passing partisan messaging bills that had no chance of ever being signed into law. 

Maybe with one party in control of both houses of Congress, lawmakers could finally get to work on the large backlog of problems confronting middle class families, like putting Americans back to work building roads and bridges; raising the federal minimum wage; requiring that women receive equal pay for equal work; and helping families afford the soaring cost of college education.

So how is the House of Representatives spending its first week? 

The House is considering bills to 1) deem approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline (which could raise gas prices in Midwestern states); 2) dismantle essential Wall Street reforms that help prevent big banks from once again crashing the economy; and 3) undermine the Affordable Care Act while adding $46 billion in red ink to the federal budget.  (This is the 54th vote by House Republicans to repeal or weaken the health reform law.  For more information, read this article by Rep. Levin that appeared in the January 7 edition of The Hill newspaper.)

The President would veto all three of these bad bills, and there is not enough support in Congress to override these vetoes.  Rather than continue to waste time on partisan, ideological bills that have no chance of becoming law, Congress should get to work on bipartisan legislation to strengthen the middle class, create jobs, grow the economy, and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.