Congress can’t do much, but they did manage to send the president a bill today that will prevent the Highway Trust Fund from running out of money in August. That’s the good news, and the only good news coming out of Capitol Hill. The bill itself is ridiculous, which is what you would expect from something wholly created by House Republicans without any input whatsoever from the Senate. That didn’t prevent 81 senators from voting for it, however. Among Democrats, only Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware voted against it, presumably because it is such a stupid way to finance our infrastructure spending.
But at least Congress was able to kick the can down the road so that we can drive on it. They solved a problem. Not so for the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who have arrived at our borders since last October. Boehner has a new majority leader and a new whip, but they aren’t any better at doing their jobs than their predecessors. Once again, Boehner had to pull legislation off the floor rather than see his own caucus vote it down. The House will convene tomorrow morning which was supposed to be the first day of the August recess. They don’t want to go home without giving the president any money to deal with the kids at the border, but they can’t agree on a bill that the Democrats might support. They can’t even agree on a bill that the Democrats won’t support. They are not capable of governing.
In the Senate, the Republicans blocked the confirmation of a bloc of State Department nominees, including the ambassadors to Guatemala, Russia, and South Korea. They did this because they’re still miffed about Harry Reid using the nuclear option. But, last I checked, Russia had just been involved in downing a commercial airliner, Guatemala was flooding our borders with desperate children, and South Korea was one of our closest and most important allies in the Far East.
Since the long-term unemployed aren’t about to form a Super PAC, they’re still screwed, too.
I remain guardedly optimistic that enough Americans will notice what is happening in Washington that the GOP will not be rewarded for this non-performance. But the fact that I have reason to doubt this is a pretty bad indictment of where we’re at as a country.