Paralysis, Gridlock?

Are the Republicans causing “gridlock,” “paralysis,” etc. in Congress? Is it the Republican-controlled House or the Democrat-controlled Senate that can’t pass bills, can’t even pass a budget? Why is the theme of the day that nothing is happening in DC because of (wink, Republican) extreme partisanship? (See “Senate Gridlock explained in one chart,” “‘Deliberative’ Senate gripped by paralysis,” “Chipping away at Senate gridlock,” and the many articles about how “moderate” Olympia Snowe is.) (Whatever you do, do not mention “Jumpin’ Jim” Jeffords, much less Arlen Specter.)

My husband and I visited Washington, DC last week with the National Pawnbrokers Association. Members of the NBA heard lobbyists and Legislators in their meetings and visited Capitol Hill to meet with Congressmen and Senators from our States. Time after time, we heard that staffers and the occasional Rep told the pawnbrokers that the two sides are too far apart, too polarized to get any legislation done — or even to have a conversation.

First of all, the partisanship is not new. Take a look at the history of “cloture votes” in the Senate. Does anyone else remember all the talk about – the never invoked - “nuclear option” or the “constitutional option” when Trent Lott or Bill Frist were Majority Leaders in the Senate? The problem then was that the Senate Dems were using the filibuster to block ALL judicial appointees. That the Dems didn’t want President Bush to appoint judges doesn’t seem equivalent to the fact that Republicans do wish the right to debate and amend legislation that changes or creates law.

Of course, we’re supposed to forget that the Dems had a majority in both the House and the Senate from January, 2007 until the Republicans won the House in the 2010 election and were sworn in in January, 2011. Don’t look at the number of Dems in the Senate, today, or read the news reports that Harry Reid will not even allow a vote on the budget.

The Democrats don’t seem to remember that the Nancy Pelosi House had such a huge majority that they didn’t need a single Republican vote to pass legislation — and yet they still shut down the tradition of “open rule” on Republican amendments. One day, Pelosi even shut off the lights and CSPAN cameras in an attempt to silence Republicans!

And really good Dems deny that Harry Reid used the “nuclear option” to force ObamaCare through the Senate — while changing the rules for the Senate for all future Congresses. (Reid used “reconciliation” to pass Obamacare. Furthermore, the Act mandates that any recommendation from the Independent Payment Advisory Board on Medicare cuts must go straight to the Senate Finance Committee and all future Congresses may only debate Obamacare with a 2/3 majority vote, and then only for a time set in the original "Accountable Care Act.")

Why are we called “Conservatives” in the first place? Isn’t it because we prefer transparent government, lower taxes, a strong defense, less spending and defend the right to life and traditional marriage? These are matters of principle that have been in the Republican platform since the ’60′s, at least. And yet, we’re portrayed by the media as “do nothing,” the “party of no,” and as though it is WE who are trying to make radical changes in the law.


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