There are about 65 days remaining in 2013. The House of Representatives is scheduled to be in session 19 of those days. According to Politico, Speaker John Boehner is considering reducing that number because there is no crisis facing lawmakers. Immigration reform? No rush. Reconciling the farm bill? What’s that?
Instead of using the break from pressure to work on these and other issues, House leadership is only focused on the anticipated budget crisis that will hit on January 15, 2014 and how to not give up the fight on Obamacare.
While both parties took a hit in the polls following the partial government shutdown, it’s no secret the GOP is taking the brunt of the criticism. The problems with www.healthcare.gov has given the Republicans fresh ammunition in their fight against Obamacare. There is even some Democratic support for some form of delay of the insurance deadline. Everyone understands computer network problems. But this should not be an excuse to forget about the other tasks at hand.
Should we expect anything different? Sadly, no. Working only when there is a crisis has become the norm in Congress. Calculating how to use the crisis for personal political advantage has become the driving force. President Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said it best: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
I don’t expect 2014 to be any better. Come January, all 435 members of the House will be in campaign mode. Even those from safe districts will want to energize their supporters. There’s no better way to do this than upping the volume during a crisis.
There are 19 — or maybe fewer — work days remaining for the House of Representatives this year. Representatives are supposed to represent us. Are they?