Congress: Take Off the Flip Flops and Get Back to Work
- by: Hank Berkowitz
- August 19, 2020
Out of sight, out of mind.
That seems to be the attitude of our vacationing lawmakers toward the 30 million Americans who could be in danger of losing their homes—their primary residences, not their vacation homes. Think that’s an overstatement? Well, we’re talking about a potential 93-percent cut in aid for some.
“If the speaker of the House and the minority leader of the Senate decide to finally let another rescue package move forward for workers and for families, it would take bipartisan consent to meet for legislative business sooner than scheduled,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week.
I guess this doesn’t qualify as a real crisis, does it, Mitch?
The jobless rate is at the highest level since the Great Depression. On July 31st, the last of the $600 weekly extended unemployment checks went out. But still no action (or empathy) from our lawmakers as House Democrats were unable to reach a compromise with Senate Republicans and White House officials in recent weeks. Americans hoping for another coronavirus relief bill from Congress will likely have to wait at least another month. Hopefully they’ll find a way to make ends meet as lawmakers enjoy full salaries, benefits and second homes, while frolicking in the sunshine until after Labor Day.
You can fire your representatives in November
As Paul Muschick noted in The Morning Call, “If your company was in the middle of an unprecedented crisis, there’s no way the boss would put up with the entire staff leaving town to take a break. So why do we let Congress get away with it?” After all, they work for us. We pay their salaries.”
“These elected officials act as if they have no boss,” lamented Muschick. “It’s time for us to remind them they do — us.” Call and write and tell them to get back to work. If they refuse, remember that we have the ability to fire many of them on Election Day.”
I rarely use this blog to opine on politics. It’s not in my wheelhouse. But it’s too upsetting to see both parties cheerleading at their quadrennial convention/lovefests at a time when so many of their constituents are hurting—really hurting.
I know some elected officials are on this distribution list. If you’re reading this week, I have a special message for you: “Skip the virtual convention. Take off the damn flip flops, put away the straw hats and get your butts back to sweaty, steamy Washington, DC. Start passing some legislation or find a replacement who can!
At least you’ll have AC and a roof over your (pointy) heads. That’s more than many American will be able to say in the weeks ahead. If it’s not stressful enough figuring out how to get their kids/grandkids to school safely—now they have to beg friends, relatives and houses of worship for a temporary place to live. The alternative? Going to homeless shelters, which were never safe to begin with and certainly not set up to optimize social distancing as we head into our first official flu season of the pandemic.
America is not supposed to be like this under any circumstances, no matter how dire. Besides, we might not have a postal service much longer. There’s no sense in watching lawmakers “mail it in” while one out of ten American households could be out on the street.
As The New York Times editorial board opined recently: “Staying in Washington until they get this crucial piece of the job done is the least that senators can do to show their solidarity with the legions of Americans who are facing far worse this summer than a canceled holiday.”
What’s your take? I’d love to hear from you.
#CongressionalRecess #stimulus #CARESAct #joblessrate #homeless #eviciton