Around the State
The Senate and House spent their first full week enjoying the traditional August recess with a double digit number of CODELs (congressional delegations) touring the world and very few town hall meetings being scheduled.
It seems that members of Congress would rather not talk to their constituents at the level they did two summers ago when the town hall meetings became so confrontational.
It isn’t so much that members of Congress are afraid of their constituents, but rather that they don’t seem to know what to say to them. When constituents ask, “Why aren’t you working on legislation that would help with the joblessness?” -- they don’t have an answer. When town hall participants ask members of Congress how they plan to address our out-of-control spending, they don’t know what to say.
As the leaders of Congress announced their appointments to the super-Congress debt committee this past week, I began to research each appointee’s years in Congress. Naturally, I went to the Congress website for this basic bio information. Each member of Congress is permitted to write his or her biography or “about me” link on their website, provided and paid for by us, the taxpayers. I found it almost comical that most of the members of Congress appointed to the super-Congress have modified their bio page so as to not reflect how long they have been serving in Congress.
For example, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has appointed Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
Sen. Baucus represents the Senate Democrats on the Finance Committee. This is the same Finance Committee that produced major parts of the Obamacare bill in 2010. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, Obamacare included $491.7 billion in taxes. The regulations that the bill lobbed onto the citizens and businesses in America are too staggering to mention in this piece. Sen. Baucus has been in Congress for 37 years. His years of service were hard to locate on his bio page.
Sen. Murray represents the Senate Democrats on the Appropriations Committee. This is the committee that didn't produce a single appropriations bill last year in the U.S. Senate. This is the same Appropriations Committee that has considered only one of the six appropriations bills that the House of Representatives has been dutifully passing this year. This is the same committee that will be called to task Sept. 30 for failing to enact a single one of the 12 appropriations bills that make up our federal government agency spending budgets for this upcoming fiscal year. The drama moment of last fall and spring will repeat itself at the end of September, all because the appropriations bills aren’t being considered in the Senate. I was able to learn lots about Sen. Murray from her website, but her 19 years of Senate service was also hard to locate in her bio.
Sen. Kerry represents no key Senate Democratic committee that would help solve the debt crisis, but he will carry the White House's water in the meetings. You see, Sen. Kerry desperately wants to be President Barack Obama's secretary of state. If he is a good and loyal waterboy for the president, he might just earn that new title when Hillary Clinton decides she has had enough of the Obama regime. Kerry has been in Congress for 26 years. Together, these three career politicians have served in Congress a total of 82 years in Washington, D.C. Hmm ... how's that congressional representation been working out for us?
Finally, the senator from Massachusetts might serve the supercommittee well because several cities within the Bay State are close to having their credit rating downgraded or given a negative outlook. These municipality scores might inspire the senior senator from Massachusetts to work to get a deal and not just carry the empty water bucket for our president. However, I wouldn't hold my breath on that one!
Stay tuned for more on the supercommittee.
Elizabeth B. Letchworth is a retired, elected United States Senate secretary for the majority and minority. Currently she is a senior legislative adviser for Covington & Burling, LLC and is the founder of GradeGov.com.