Archive for bills passed

The House That Hardly Ever Works, Even When It Does Work

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House calendar

Today I read that the House of Representatives only has seven more days scheduled of work this year. We're just at December 3rd and that leaves four weeks on the calendar, but only one week of work. Hmm. During 2013 the House had a total of 239 DAYS OFF. How overworked can they be? They just took the mantle of the least effective congressional session EVER!

Plenty.

For what promises to be the worst congress in history, passing fewer bills than EVER before, here's what lies ahead. A reduced schedule for the second session of the 113th Congress. According to HuffPo:

They have even more off days scheduled for next year.

The 2014 calendar for the House, released in October by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), shows members will only work 113 days. That's down from 2013, when House lawmakers were scheduled to meet for 126 days.

I hope their New Years resolution is to work harder and actually get something done. Certainly they didn't this time around and now they're so overworked they're cutting back their calendar by two weeks. Perhaps if they do even less next year, they can cut 2015 down to once a month meetings at Boehner's house. For the results we're seeing, that should be plenty of time.

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GOP Drawing Plans For The Future

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Mechanical drawing

When I was in high school I took a class in mechanical drawing. It actually was a pretty cool course as it taught me a lot about measurements, dimensions, perspective and engineering. But one lesson I remember most from that class, showing the builder what is there, not what isn't. And I've found that applicable to all work that I've done, writing, producing, political punditry. You need to focus on what's there, not what's missing.

My first mechanical drawing project was to blueprint a rectangular "frame" that was 8x6. The center hole was 4x4. I rendered the plans indicating the outside dimensions of the top (8) and the side (4) and I also gave the dimensions of the hole, 4 inches square. Easy.

When I turned it in, I was extremely pleased. But when the grade came back, I only got a "D".

I asked the teacher why, and he taught me a valuable lesson that the GOP needs to learn.""You don't give the dimensions of what's not there," the teacher told me. "You show the builder what is." We deal in a results based world.

He corrected my drawing by indicating the widths of the top and side rails, not the hole in the middle.

The same foundational thinking is necessary as the 2014 midterm election approach. For the GOP, it's not what they didn't do that we will vote for/against; its what they did do. (Which is very little, even less that the Harry Truman dubbed, 'Do Nothing' Congress)

Sadly, our current spate of GOP law makers don't have a lot to show for their time in the Majority.

The 213th Congress can focus on 42 attempts to derail the Affordable Care Act. That's a positive action. Not a popular one but it's something they did do. They voted to cut the deficit as well as food stamps, but that only happened by way of the sequester, and sadly both parties are responsible for that. And finally, the majority in the House shut the government down. That certainly isn't going to win them too many votes. You need to look hard and finely to register any other legislative wins.

That fact is this country has more registered Democrats than Republicans. And the big races and certainly the Presidency will require Independents and cross over Democrats for the Republicans to win nationally-- even with gerrymandering. How are you going to make a dent in those numbers running strictly on what's not there? Under Reince Priebus they've become preoccupied with stressing the dimensions of the square donut hole void in the middle, and not the support rails that do exist. They're running on what's not there, not what is.

By 2014, Obamacare will be up and working. It's a sleeping giant that's already stretching, yawning and wiping away the morning gunk from it's eyes. Perhaps the GOP should think about sewing some suitable clothes for the waking giant rather than wishing it away. It's not going away, so find a way to become it's friend. An ally monster is far better than an angry one.

So the Republicans, if they're smart (no guarantee there), through all their bluster, need to stop giving us the dimensions of  the hole -- their lack of legislation. Their failure to govern. They wallow in what they haven't done (the void). They've stifled health care, immigration, education, science, climate control, adequate food assistance, a viable jobs program, fixing the infrastructure and meaningful finance reform. Boasting how you prevented these programs from existing isn't anything more that your continued describing the hole they've dug.

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment this past year is their majority led vote to shorten the number of working days from 141 to 127 and then complaining they don't  have enough time, now that we're mid-way through November, to pass any legislation. Don't look for voter sympathy on that one.

If you want to do something, quickly bring the Senate immigration bill up for a vote  in the House. At least end the year on a high note. Have something positive to stand for, not just the giant hole you've dug for yourself so far.

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