It appears that traffic frustration isn’t the only thing that President Obama stirred up during his recent visit to Houston.
After a somber appearance at Ft. Hood, the President and First Lady of the United States came to the Bayou City for some fundraisers in River Oaks and the Museum District. Here’s coverage from Reuters via Huffington Post…
HOUSTON, April 9 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama sharply criticized what he called the least productive U.S. Congress in modern history on Wednesday in a fund-raising speech that he used to try to energize Democrats to vote in November congressional elections.
Obama blasted Republicans in the U.S. Senate for blocking a Democratic-supported bill earlier in the day aimed at addressing a gap in pay between male and female workers. Republicans argued that pay discrimination is already illegal.
Obama also cited Republicans’ refusal to agree to an immigration overhaul and an increase in the minimum wage as examples of what he called obstruction by his political opponents.
“This has become the least productive Congress in modern history, recent memory. And that’s by objective measures – just basic activity,” Obama said.
Obama said Republican “obstruction” this year may be a good political strategy if Democrats do not vote in the mid-terms. Democrats are active in presidential campaign years, he said, but “we have this congenital disease, which is in mid-term elections, we don’t vote at the same rates.”
“We need you to take these mid-terms as seriously as any presidential election that you’ve ever been involved in,” said Obama.
Though the 113th Congressional session isn’t yet over, President Obama is likely to be correct. This Congress is well on its way to being the least productive in history, and at this point in the year, it’s next to impossible to change that. Just 98 bills have left the House chamber since January of 2013.
Yet unlike the average American worker, Congress gets to do no work, keep its job and still get paid. Don’t forget that every legislator that represents us in Washington is getting paid a minimum of $174,000 per year to NOT legislate. Adding insult to injury, one of the few bills that could be passed this year is whether or not Congress deserves a raise. I am believer in the role of government, but this is just ridiculous. If we’re looking to cut a welfare program, Congressional pay is a GREAT place to start.
Blasting frustrations aside, there are very clear reasons for the degeneration of America’s legislative branch. The first one is of course money. Congressional campaigns have become so expensive that the average federal law-maker spends more time fund-raising than they do on anything else. It’s quite sickening that they are being paid to call donors just so they can keep their job.
And of course the little time that they are in session is spent in total disagreement. Thanks to the GOP’s calculated gerrymandering plan, this is the most divisive Congress in recent American history. Congressional questionnaires that have measured basic ideology over the years prove this fact. And because so few in Congress have to compete for voters in the middle of the political spectrum, the two parties continue to drive further and further away from each other.
Let’s hope that voters start taking notice of the waste happening on Capitol Hill this year. It’s really becoming too much to bear.