I wanted to expand upon one of the points I made at the White House Business Roundtable meeting the Chamber hosted a week or two ago.
Calls in recent weeks for Congress to cut short their August Recess (didn’t they have recess in elementary schools) and go back to DC and “do their job” have been growing. I think these calls are misplaced.
First, being out of DC is a very important part of their job. We hear and complain about the “Beltway mentality”. Taking a month to be back in your district and talk to the real people you represent is very important to the men and woman in the US Congress.
Second, and more importantly, they would accomplish nothing if they stayed in DC. Congressional Republicans and Congressional Democrats/The President have irreconcilable differences that won’t be solved by being in session for another month. They won’t be solved unless their is a huge sea change in the attitudes of Americans that is acted on by our elected officials or the political line-up is shaken up by the 2012 election.
Much like a troubled marriage (my lawyer background pays off once again), it all comes down to trust. The two sides in DC don’t trust each other. I believe that a tax increase could pass if their was trust that promised future cuts in spending would actually happen. But without this trust, such a “balanced” approach to handling our debt problem won’t happen. Having Congress stay in DC to make floor speeches to empty rooms and meetings that go nowhere are a waste of time.
Both sides have and will stay dug in to their position looking ahead to the next election. The only time any “progress” occurs is when a hard deadline (like raising the debt ceiling) is at hand. Since neither wants to be blamed (again looking ahead to the 2112 election) they cobble togther a compromise to scrape through until the next deadline. That is what happened with the debt ceiling increase agreement. People on the political left and right don’t like the agreement because they “gave away too much” and those in the middle are disgusted by the whole process, if they are even paying attention.
Expect a similar dynamic with the Congressional “Super Committee” that needs a plan to cut the deficit by Thanksgiving and by Congress who may take action on that plan by the end of the year. I guess this is another reason to look forward to the 2012 election.
There are no comments yet, add one below.