When I was in eighth grade, my teacher, Mr. Fowler, would ask the class, “If pro and con are opposites, what is the opposite of progress?” Congress. Even now, I still giggle a little bit at that very classic dad-joke. Despite his humorous intentions, Mr. Fowler had a point.
In 1948, Harry Truman nicknamed the 80th Congress the “Do-Nothing Congress.” Truman campaigned on the idea that he was going to increase the progress of the government. Little did he know that the “Do-Nothing Congress” was not going to be the least productive of them all.
The 80th Congress passed 906 laws. You want to know how many the 112th Congress (from 2012-2013) passed? Three hundred. That’s pathetic. What’s worse is that the 113th Congress (2013-2014) did not do much better. The number of bills passed into law was 283, according to PBS.
I find this to be absolutely infuriating, as should we all. These are officials that we elect to pass laws and to help our country progress. If passing 906 laws was enough by President Truman’s standard to be called the “Do-Nothing Congress,” I don’t even know what to call this. Needless to say, Congress is failing.
While this is nothing new, I find it important to consider in light of the fact that we may be facing yet another government shutdown at the end of this month. After the release of the highly-edited Planned Parenthood videos this summer, many Republicans, such as Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, are threatening to cut funding to the women’s health organization. Their plan is to attach the funding cut to the federal budget, which President Obama would veto.
The content of those videos, despite the heavy editing, is horrifying. However, the issue with using them as the reason to defund Planned Parenthood via the federal budget is worthless. The thing is, Planned Parenthood is funded through Medicaid. Even if there is a government shutdown, Medicaid will be unaffected, and Planned Parenthood will still be open.
If members of Congress truly want to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, or, as it seems to be their goal, outlaw abortion, this is not the way it should be done. All a shutdown would do is hurt the U.S. and world economies.
If our government leaders are unable to pass the budget, which has to go through, how are we supposed to trust them with anything else? A shutdown would just be a sign of yet another congressional failure.
Mr. Fowler, with his killer dad-joke, was absolutely right. A government shutdown would be the exact opposite of progress.
So, with that I say to congressional leaders: please, do something. As your constituents, it would be nice if some laws were passed that improved the government.