Congress takes itself hostage

In hostage situations someone threatens to harm others and sometimes themselves unless their demands are met by those in a position to do so. But the US congress has taken this to farcical levels by threatening such harm unless actions are taken that it already has the power, indeed the responsibility, to take on its own.

For example, one of the most basic tasks of congress is to formulate and pass a budget. But we have reached a stage of congressional dysfunction where they are unable to carry out this basic responsibility. So what does congress do? It threatens to hold a gun to its own head unless a budget is passed and so we had the fiscal cliff drama where congress said that unless they agreed on a budget, automatic cuts that they did not like to see would go into effect. In other words, they needed to create a threat of harm to their own priorities in order to get them to take any action. To no one’s surprise, that threat failed when they decided to postpone the original fiscal cliff deadline of December 31, 2012 by a couple of months.

Now we have yet another proposal where they threaten to withhold the salaries of all members of either body of congress (the house of representatives and the senate) if that body does not pass a budget. Again, since they are pointing the gun to their own head and making demands of themselves, do they really expect us to believe they will pull the trigger? Is it any wonder that polls show that the public views congress in less esteem than cockroaches?


  1. Psychopomp Gecko says

    Now I can’t help but imagine some old Republican member of Congress standing on top of a building on Inauguration Day 2009, calling out to other Republicans near the podium and being interrupted by a bell.

  2. Shawn Smith says

    And it’s flat-out unconstitutional–according to the 27th amendment which states

    No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

    I guess the morons who read that earlier this month didn’t understand the plain english words.

  3. baal says

    #1 beat me well to it. If only that Congress was as smart as the sheriff from the clip.
    @#4 – I heard they were going to be clever and get around that by paying the wages but holding the payment in escrow until the conditions were met. Not that really solves it but hey, it’s the Teaparty (R) House.

  4. John Kruger says

    In the overall scheme of things, I think the official salary of senators is not very much of their total income. The millionaires will have little difficulty waiting on their salary to come out of escrow, even if it is for an extended period of time. It is a completely manufactured not-crisis to make it look like they are actually invested in doing their jobs.

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