With Congressional Republicans blocking most significant legislation proposed by Democrats in the House of Representatives and Senate, both chambers have adjourned for the customary August month of vacation and visits to home states and districts. With more than half of the year gone, it looks increasingly likely that Congress is heading for a political train wreck this fall as the logjam of urgent legislation continues to pile up. While on a number of votes - the Iraq war prominent among them - Democrats have had difficulty maintaining a unified stance, it is fair to say that overall, the Congressional gridlock has been due almost entirely to the refusal of Republicans to consent to the will of the majority on a long list of issues needing urgent attention.
As Congress concluded business for the first seven months of 2007, here’s a fast scorecard on several important issues:
Employee Free Choice Act: Passed by the House but stalled by Republican Senate filibuster. Bush indicated he would veto this legislation in any event.
Iraq War: Majorities of both parties continue to provide funds for this deadly fiasco, the latest action taken just prior to the recent August adjournment.
Federal Budget: House has passed twelve appropriations bills for government operations, the Senate only one due to Republican stalling.
Health care crisis: No action on the overall crisis, but expansion of the children’s health insurance program passed the House, and passed the Senate with a veto-proof majority. Bush and most Republicans furiously opposed this measure.
Immigration: No action taken.
Pension Crisis: No action taken
Mortgage Swindle: No action taken.
Various Congressional Investigations and Committee Oversight Hearings: Democrats have utilized their majority to mount a number of much needed investigations into Bush Administration lawbreaking and incompetence, all in the face of widespread Republican defiance and obstruction.
Commenting on the situation in Washington, D.C., UE General Secretary-Treasurer Bruce Klipple said, “I urge all UE members to contact their lawmakers during the August recess, at their offices back home where you live. Tell them that when Congress reconvenes in September, you expect ACTION on the urgent problems facing working people. Our patience is at an end. We want Congress to restore or right to organize. We want this Iraq war ended, and our troops brought home. We need to fix the health care crisis with a sweeping single-payer solution. We need our schools and public services properly funded. We need action on the pension and mortgage lending crises. We expect the Democrats to unify and shove aside the belligerent Bush Republicans if they continue to stand in the way of addressing these urgent problems. In short, tell them to go back to Washington and get something done.”
You may find contact and district office information for your lawmakers by visiting www.house.gov and www.senate.gov or by visiting www.vote-smart.org .You can also call Project Vote Smart toll-free at 888-vote-smart (868-3762.)