- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2007


It’s time for benchmarks and it is time to seriously consider a cutoff of funding. This quagmire has gone on for far too long, and the nation is suffering. We’re referring to this incapable, riven, sectarian, promise-breaking U.S. Congress.

This 110th Congress demands accountability. It failed to deliver its “first 100 hours” agenda, passing just two bills in its first 100 days, one a continuing appropriations resolution left over from the 109th Congress, the other the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007. It has not “drained the swamp,” as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised. Raise the minimum wage, bring the troops home, fix our health-care woes, address college affordability, promote energy independence, and fix the budget — all were promised, all have come to naught.

Strange, but we’d almost want to call this Congress “incapable of putting national interests ahead of sectarian score settling.” What, we wonder, is needed to spur “politicians to take the steps toward national reconciliation that they have endlessly discussed but refused to act on?” We call for an immediate change of course. The prospects that the current strategy will succeed in the way originally envisioned by Mrs. Pelosi are very limited within the short period framed by our own domestic political debate. It is time for some accountability.

This Congress has failed spectacularly to be the “most ethical Congress in history,” without so much as a dent in the politics of influence in Washington, six months and 32,684 tummy-rubbing earmarks into the session, with lawmakers basking in the glad-handing with more than sufficient frequency to make the powerful, pungent appropriator Rep. Jack Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, seem too prescient by half when he lampooned ethics reform as “total crap.” Congressional ethics retains its prominence of place near jumbo shrimp and military intelligence for world-class oxymorons.

With all these failures to attain reasonable benchmarks, it is particularly disturbing that Congress is now planning to take off the entire month of August.

Perhaps it is time for taxpayers to threaten credibly to cut off funding for this endless quagmire of a Congress if it fails by September to meet its benchmarks.

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