‘This Congress, they are accustomed to doing nothing, and they’re comfortable with doing nothing, and they keep on doing nothing,” President Obama whined at a September 15 Democratic National Committee gathering in a private Washington residence.
Now that his “Blame Bush” hobby horse finally has retired to the glue factory, Obama resorts to pinning America’s woes on the “Do-Nothing Congress.” If only these parliamentarians would stop taking endless lunches, sipping cocktails at Capitol Hill happy hours, and napping at their desks, America might have some chance of returning to normal.
Obama speaks as if the entire Congress were in lock-step Republican opposition to his every initiative. Damn those pesky elephants!
Of course, Obama’s rhetoric cynically turns things upside down.
Congress consists of a do-something House of Representatives, run by Republicans, and a do-nothing Senate controlled by Obama’s very own Democrats. Obama evidently believes that if he can keep spouting clever lies and distortions, no one will call him on it. Well, it’s time to do so.
The 112th Congress has been characterized by a very active legislative pace in the Republican House, featuring the passage of many measures designed to revive America’s exhausted economy.
The Democratic Senate, meanwhile, is a much lazier place, where House Republicans’ measures go to die.
The figures bear this out, beyond debate.
Through September 15, the Republican House had been in session for 120 days. The Democratic Senate through the same date had been in session only 115 days.
In terms of recorded votes, the two bodies are as different as Times Square and the Everglades. Through September 15, the GOP House had voted 711 times. Meanwhile, across the same period, the Democratic Senate had only 137 recorded votes. So, the allegedly lethargic GOP legislators whose sloth dooms the nation actually are five times as energetic as their indolent counterparts in the Democratic Senate.
This distinction might discredit House Republicans if they wasted their time voting on National Apricot Yogurt Month and similar matters of national urgency. In fact, Republicans have approved serious legislation designed to get America moving.
“Our new majority has passed more than a dozen pro-growth measures designed to address the jobs crisis,” Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote Obama on September 6. “Aside from repeal of the 1099-reporting requirement in the health care law, however, none of the jobs measures passed by the House to date have been taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate.”
These have included bills to reduce anti-business regulations, accelerate offshore oil production, and speed the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry Canadian petroleum to refineries in Texas. The pipeline alone would create 20,000 jobs.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid seems to be in no rush to consider Obama’s American Jobs Act, even though Obama wants it enacted “right now!”
“We’ve got to get rid of some issues first,” Reid said. For now, he is not sure “exactly what I’m going to do yet with the president’s jobs bill,” especially since some of Reid’s own Democrats, such as Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Jim Webb of Virginia, seem ho-hum about Obama’s $447 billion Stimulus Jr.
While House Republicans adopted a budget last April 15, the Democratic Senate has not approved a budget since April 29, 2009. This Democratic inaction seems to violate the U.S. Congressional Budget Act, which requires passage of an annual budget resolution. Indeed, the Senate rejected Obama’s budget in May by a vote of 0 to 97 — with every Democrat in the chamber voting nay.
Obama can disagree with every piece of paper passed by the GOP House. But when he slyly bashes Republicans by accusing “this Congress” of “doing nothing,” he simply is lying through his teeth. If Obama wants the entire Congress to get something done, he should tell Harry Reid to wake up and do his job.
— New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.