While summer offers a time to get outside and explore the grand world around us, it appears not everything is sunshine and rainbows when it comes to issues affecting average people. Specifically, two trends tend to emerge every summer that nobody smiles at: homicide hits a peak, and the time Congress spends making legislation equals that of your local McDonald's cook.
Time reports Congress convenes only about 33 days per summer, going to work about 50% of weekdays. Your loyal public servants will be taking a month-long break starting August 5, and this summer, more important matters than usual are at hand,most notably immigration reform.
What is cutting Congress's productivity? Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted an answer.
Today, virtually no piece of legislation can get passed unless it has the ok from corporate America. http://t.co/22kZZUlZXm— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 20, 2013
In most jobs, a person is held accountable to finish certain tasks. Why should it be different with our public servants, our elected officials? Granted democracy is a messy process, but both parties campaigned and won promising to deal with immigration. Nevertheless, to date the lack of legislation passed still has millions of immigrants wondering about what their future holds.
Congress is toying with the future of immigrants by not acting to provide certainty. The heat in D.C. may be oppressive, but that does not mean a lack of decent legislation should follow suit.
President Obama has made it clear he would like to see Congress vote on legislation before July 4. Recent uproars regarding privacy invasion, a failure to even secure background checks for gun buyers, and continued general political disarray have consumed media attention. This negative focus however completely detracts from a central theme of the 2012 Obama campaign: nation-building. Constructing laws that allow for a long-term solution regarding immigration constitutes a key component of the nation-building process.
It can be easy to forget about the long-term viability of the U.S. when news outlets have us conditioned for transient, attention-spiking events. The primary interest of news corporations is profit. Most major news companies are corporations. Their interest is not necessarily providing you with truth. As citizens we must always be skeptical of what we hear, especially in an information-overload age.
So what is preventing lawmakers from coming together on this issue that both parties have an interest in completing? Is Senator Sanders correct that without corporate America's OK, nothing will get done? Congress is mystifying in how it not only fails to do its job, but keeps getting to go back to work afterwards.
Here's hoping groups like No Labels can change the tide of modern American politics. Please, D.C., the U.S. has had enough nation-tearing. Its time to get back to nation-building.