Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Oh, For Jebus' Sake - What Now?

In Washington, time is not measured by calendar days. For those of you who've never had the pleasure (ha!) of directly speaking with a congressperson or their staff about pending bills, time is marked inside the 495 Beltway in "legislative days".

Now, it would seem that in the limited time available during the course of a year to define, debate, hold hearings, golf, campaign, entertain lobbyists, and attend social functions (not necessarily in that order), you are paying the congresspersons from your state and district to actually work on substantial and worthwhile legislation. Just as importantly, you'd hope that they would review some of the outdated / outmoded / useless / porkbarrel laws and pass them directly to the shredder.

Each law, however minor or stupid or important costs a fixed amount of money just to introduce. Then, by the time a bill makes it through committee, has sponsors, gets printed / noticed in the Congressional Record, yada yada yada, some serious money has been invested, even in routine legislation like honoring Grandma Millie on her 100th birthday.

Maybe it's just the election year, I don't know. But it seems to me like my congressional representatives certainly haven't earned their keep during this legislative year. The "high profile" bills being introducted are the wedge bills - like the marriage amendment, and
this one:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw the burning of the American flag won the approval on Tuesday of a Senate Judiciary Committee split largely along party lines.

Raised by some Republicans as a mark of patriotism this election year, the measure passed on a 11-7 vote and was sent to the full Senate for final congressional approval. While the Senate has repeatedly rejected such measures in the past, both sides predict a razor-close vote this time...
Dammit, I thought we just cured the rabid case of constitutionalamendmentitis that's currently racing down the Republican side of the aisle. And then they float this white elephant again (pun intended). These people are like little kids - can't take your eye off of them for a second, or they're getting into the cookie jar and all kinds of other trouble.

You should write your congresspersons (Senate and House representatives) and let them know this kind of bulldorky, in the people's name, has to friggin' stop. You need to also let the Democratic Congressional Caucus know your feelings. Folks, "wedge issue" legislation, which only the GOP seems to engage in, benefits no one on either side. And it wastes billions of dollars a year, to no good end.

Just remember, these are your tax dollars at work.

(Any questions why the GOP is running this proposed amendment back up the flagpole again? Please refer to this posting.)