Democrats say the 294 public laws represent a solid record of achievement. Since the party took control of Congress in 2007, they’ve led passage of the largest expansion in college aid in 60 years, increased the minimum wage for the first time in a decade, and extended unemployment benefits. They passed the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
Congress has passed a $168 billion economic-stimulus package, a housing-rescue package providing as much as $300 billion to refinance mortgages for people in danger of losing their homes, and the most sweeping product-safety legislation in a generation.
These are all important issues, but I’m amazed that these are the only real legislative concerns when so many other more pressing issues loom. I’m not talking here about off-shore drilling or other recent Republican topics. There are fundamental governmental functions – like maintaining infrastructure (including replacing a 50 year old air traffic control system), spending less than we take in, etc – on which our entire government is failing. Horribly.
The problem is that these issues aren’t sexy – few votes are won by more money for fixing bridges. But history shows that nations rise and fall on these unsexy issues, and apparently our Congress (and each party) chooses issues that ease our pocketbooks and ignore posterity. It’s a dangerous place to be.