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CONGRESS – 136 Hours Worth of Dead Air

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These days, if you don’t want to become depressed about the lack of activity in the House and Senate, don’t watch C-SPAN! As the debt crisis looms over our heads like the Sword of Damocles, preventing any American from being content about the current economic condition of the U.S., it has come to light that "the Senate has spent an historic amount of time performing this time-killing ritual. Quorum calls…"

This situation is astounding. While ten percent of America is looking for work, and the rest is working (those of working age), our elected officials are, apparently, taking one-third of the time off, because they are afraid to lose their job at the next election. They are afraid to take a position. Afraid to go "on the record" because it may hurt their re-election chances. As my father once told me when I was ten years old, watching him repair a fence, "do something, or get out of the way."

Apparently, quorum calls—sometimes used as a filler or delaying tactic, sometimes necessary to get our representatives to show up and vote–have taken up about one third of the Senate’s time since January and produced, according to C-SPAN’s statistics, more than 17 eight-hour days (or 136 hours) worth of dead air on that channel. Allan Lichtman, professor of history at American University, said, "It’s worse than gridlock… Gridlock implies that somebody was at least trying to get legislation passed." Apparently, our Congress is not even trying—the Senators aren’t showing up, and no body—especially the folks reading their names aloud—expects them to. 

In my mind, this is not only embarrassing in light of our Country’s serious present problems, but it’s irresponsible. If they’re not there, where are they? (Hopefully, no one is sending further text messages in their underwear. By the way, what was going through that Congressman’s mind when he thought it was a good idea to send his body part photographs through the airwaves of America for viewing? How does that happen?) And, meanwhile, deficit reduction and the fiscal soundness of our government and the economic security of future generations are riding on the back of the big pink elephant in the room – or not in the room.