In theory, our senators and representatives are elected to promote the best interests of the people who elect them. In practice, a great deal of the elected officials' time is spent serving the interests of the people who paid for the campaigns that got them elected. But in the past, even the most bought-and-paid-for members of Congress found ways to come together and do the right thing in times of national crisis.
The 112th Congress, though, manufactured an artificial crisis while failing to provide timely aid to people suffering from the devastation of a crisis that is all too real.
The manufactured crisis was the "
We all know how that went. Nothing got done for most of the year, then weeks of squabbling and brinksmanship ensued following the November election. Only after the deadline arrived Tuesday was a bill passed that blocked most of the tax increases and delayed reconsideration of the budget cuts for two months.
In other words, Congress could summon the will to do only the very easiest thing: preserve
It does not have to be like this. There have been countless budget battles in the past, but those occurred in Congresses where compromise, horse-trading and centrist impulses pushed tough debates toward a final resolution. In today's polarized political world, ideology trumps intelligence, especially in the House Republican Caucus. A perfect example of this was Tuesday's second failure to serve the public.
Following the vote on the fiscal cliff deal, it was expected that the House would vote on a Senate bill directing $60 billion in emergency aid to the victims of
A lot of outraged Northeastern congressmen and senators wanted to know why. The answer? Right-wing anti-tax groups, including the Club for Growth and the
New Jersey Republican Gov.