Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 28, 2013

Clean house in Congress


Kokomo Tribune

---- — President Obama visited Illinois, Missouri and Florida last week, making impassioned speeches he hopes will draw the nation’s attention to the struggles of America’s middle class.

He spoke about college and housing costs, retirement security, health care, poverty and jobs. But some political analysts believe the president’s speeches on the economy were an opening salvo in the next battle over raising the federal debt limit.

Politico cited unnamed congressional sources, who said the U.S. will hit its borrowing ceiling sometime between October and the end of December. To stave off a debt default or another credit downgrade, John McCain and other Senate Republicans are working with Senate Democrats and the White House to reform, perhaps, entitlements and the tax code, and ease federal cuts that were implemented in the sequester, Politico said.

The news organization asked Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., his thoughts on the debt limit plan of the Senate GOP.

“It doesn’t matter — we’re not going to do what they want to do,” the former vice presidential candidate told Politico. “It really doesn’t matter what they do. It doesn’t matter what John McCain and others do on the taxes and the rest.”

Gridlock is what we’ve all come to expect from Congress. That’s the reason America’s dissatisfaction with D.C. hit a new high last week.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 83 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the job Congress is doing. The poll also showed the president’s job approval rating at 45 percent — the lowest it’s been since the last fight over the debt limit.

Americans watched the Senate do nothing to stiffen background checks for gun purchases, even after 20 5- and 6-year-olds were shot to death in their elementary school. They watched with resignation as immigration reform stalled in the House of Representatives.

Such situations demand a sense of outrate.

The only way to truly fix Congress is to begin voting out the do-nothings in next year’s elections, to reject the partisans on both sides of the aisle and replace them with senators and representatives who will be willing to compromise.

Continuing to fill Congress with individuals who refuse to meet in the middle will get us nothing but more partisan bickering.

Voters need to elect lawmakers who understand the need for give and take, who recognize that to get something you often have to be willing to give something up.

That concept seems lost on today’s senators and representatives. It’s up to the voters to bring it back.