Congress, get busy

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For far to long, Congress has been dysfunctional. The resulting stalemate has prevented important issues from being addressed. The latest damaging tactic is to repeat the debt ceiling fiasco of last year. What kind of insanity is that?

Many members of Congress are more concerned with being re-elected than producing useful legislation. And the congressional era of "no compromise" is now a pathetic fact of history. Several in Congress, including the 2010 Tea Party faction, continue to bow to pressure from Grover Norquist, the National Rifle Association and other lobbyists. Such obstructionism is shameful, if not criminal.

All the public hears is: Cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Why not cut congressional costs, i.e. salaries, benefits and the cost of home district offices? According to a Congressional Research Service report, the allocation for office expenses in 2010 was more than $3.3 million. The salary for a member of the House or Senate in 2011 was $174,000, and the majority and minority leaders in both chambers were paid $193,400. Speaker John Boehner's salary is $223,500.

All that tax money is being spent, plus many unlisted perks. Yet members of Congress work fewer than 200 days a year. What's wrong with this picture?

Sen. Mitch McConnell and Speaker Boehner vowed to do everything to ensure President Barack Obama would be a one-term president. They failed. Mr. McConnell, Mr. Boehner and Congress need to get back to work. Their "do-nothing philosophy" and fear of Mr. Norquist, the NRA and other lobbyists are no longer acceptable.





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