Will Anyone Thank Congress? OK, I will

Marc Abrams

I spent last week in Jackson County. While driving around, while sitting in my motel, I saw and heard a lot of political ads, among them a ton of radio for Peter DeFazio. The curious thing was that DeFazio, known for being outspoken, was not only not mentioning he was a Democrat, he wasn’t mentioning he was a Congressman. In other words, he was asking to “elect,” rather than “re-elect.”

I spent much of this week in the Bay Area, and noticed the same phenomenon. Not knowing the players as well, I thought I could pick out the Ds from the Rs, but I wasn’t 100% sure.

I know we’re in an anti-Congress, anti-incumbent mood in the nation. We’ve been told that for months now. But when members of that Congress play into that presumption, it gives it more strength and it supports the blatant falsehood that this Congress was a bad one. In fact, it wasn’t. This was, as far as I can tell, the most activist Congress in my lifetime, and that includes the one that passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Congress finally achieved something big in health insurance reform, a change that will add millions of people to the roles of the insured. Congress quite possibly saved the nation from a total financial meltdown, including the collapse of the banking industry and the death knell of the American automobile industry. Congress passed significant banking reform.

Maybe none of these turned out the way many of us wanted. The perfect is frequently the enemy of the good. But in a Congress in which “majority” has come to mean 60 instead of 51, and in which Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman held the balance of power, this is a pretty impressive record. I don’t recall any other Congress since the “Second New Deal” of 1937 that got so much done. And the result? Elected officials running away from their own records all over the nation. A Democratic member of Congress announcing yesterday he voted for McCain. And members pretending they’ve never seen the place they want to be returned to for a second, or seventh, or thirteenth term.

So in this last week before the votes are counted, for once, I’d like to say “Thank you” not only to my member of Congress, but to Congress in general, for a job as well done as any in memory. I just wish that America recognized this and that the members themselves had the pride to take credit for their work.

Comments

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    That's why I love Earl Blumenaur's ad called (appropriately) "Democrat". It's powerful and doesn't mince words or cower. More of that please.

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    he represents Multnomah County Oregon. Quite possibly the only place besides S.F where anyone asking to be re-elected to congress could get away with it. This congress was a disaster. More money was added to the deficit in the last 2 years than from 1776 -1990 combined. The health care 'reform' bill didn't reform healthcare or health insurance ..it was a tax and a power grab with a great sounding title. But most of all the american people made it clear they didn't want the bill to pass and we couldn't afford the 1 trillion extra dollars of costs and they passed it anyway ..buh bye!

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      How convenient that you left out the years between 1990 to 2009.

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      Earth to Roger in Tea-bagger Land:

      Health-care reform will save $170 billion in the first 10 years, and $1.3 trillion in the second 20 years. SAVE. Not "cost."

      Reagan and Bush I tax cuts exploded the deficit. Clinton (and a little of Bush I) tax increases on the wealthy created a surplus. Bush II tax cuts and unnecessary wars re-inflated the deficit. The deficit now is less than under Bush II's last budget. That's right. Under Obama, the deficit has gone DOWN. The truth sucks when you only get your "news" from Faux.

      I'll tell you what WAS a disaster in Congress: Republicans voting against tax cuts for small businesses; against extending unemployment benefits; against bringing down the costs of health care that small businesses and American taxpayers have to pay; supporting tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas; watering down Wall Street reform and forcing tax cuts into the stimulus, even though they don't stimulate. The hypocrisy of the GOP saying they want to take good care of tax payer dollars when they never met a military hardware boondoggle or piece of corporate welfare they didn't love.

      I mean, really. You need to expand your sources of information beyond what's written on Sarah Palin's hand.

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    I thank Congress. They made a good beginning on a health care bill that is paid for, unlike the two wars and a Medicare expansion the Repugs didn't pay for. My sister in law, recovering from cancer, has a chance to live now and receive health insurance. The Republicans were happy to condemn her to death along with the 45 thousand other Americans who die annually from lack of health insurance.

    A good start on oversight and regulation of Wall St. and the banking industry, a major reform of college student loans with money going to students rather than banks, and a major investment in renewable energy and infrastructure through the American Recovery Act. Despite the filibustering of the Repugs, with the help of two defectors, the Dems were able to pass a major bill to make capital available to small businesses through local banks.

    With all of their obstruction, lies, and hate the Republicans only succeeded in branding themselves as extremists. With all the unhappiness about the economy there is still a recognition that Republican policies are responsible for it, and John Boehner has even lower favorable ratings than Nancy Pelosi. And should the GOP gain the House this election cycle they will show what they are, the party of paralysis and failure, a pack of angry nihilistic extremists who want to destroy American policies that work for the American middle class passed by Democrats, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Environmental Protection, regulation of Wall St., Universal Health Coverage, and expansion of Education and Training for American's young and working people.

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