Mason County News
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Striking Poses, Going Nowhere
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 • Posted July 27, 2011

It has been said that you never want to see people making sausage or laws. The last few weeks have proven that truism over and over again, particularly as it applies to the legislative process.Congress has been hammering out the details which go into addressing the debt facing our government. One point that can not be ignored is that, sadly, the debt ceiling must be raised. Failure to do so means that the United States of America risks a cascading default on its debts, a downgrading of its credit rating, and a crisis of faith from our trading partners around the world.Raising the debt ceiling does NOT mean authorizing Congress to spend more money. What many people do not realize is that increasing the debt ceiling simply means authorizing Congress to pay the debts that have already been incurred. Those debts originated with deep tax cuts, the financing of two wars, an expensive prescription drug program, bailout of the financial sector and the automotive industry; and, government payments to states for unemployment insurance and teacher/law enforcement salaries.The debt is already there, and like it or not, we owe the money. Congressional Democrats and Republicans have been working for weeks to figure out how to address the situation in a way that satisfies their respective constituencies, and also protects the sanctity of the US financial system.To their credit, the Senate has been approaching the matter in a particularly bipartisan manner. As much as reasonably possible, they have worked to find an approach that addresses the debt ceiling for at least two years, satisfies both sides of the aisle in regard to taxes; and, tackles some tough spending cuts for that same period.Over on the other side of the Capitol, the House has been less harmonious. Their approach has been focused almost solely on spending cuts, while failing to recognize the absolute necessity of maintaining a revenue stream adequate to address the overwhelming debt. While there are few that would fail to acknowledge the need to reign in government spending, cuts can only be considered as a partial solution. But, our elected representatives seem more intent on theatrics and dramatic sound bites than in actually finding solutions. The President, by law, can only be a concerned advisor and spectator in this process until a rational solution is sent to his desk. Until a plan that addresses all elements of our current crisis is sent to him, our full focus and attention needs to remain on the members of the Senate and House.I suppose one of the reasons the Senate has been more cordial in their negotiations is that there are only 100 members. The House has 435 members. The smaller Senate numbers mean that they have to work together, or rather can work together, crossing the aisle when needed to find commonality and to obtain solutions. In the House, there are so many members that they often begin to break into smaller groups with common purposes: the black caucus, the women's caucus, the Hispanic caucus. Then, of course, there are the divisions along the lines of liberal, moderate, conservative; or, Democrat or Republican.It has become difficult for the House members to work together because they have sought out their differences rather than their similarities. Listen to their press conferences and you will hear them repeat again and again how their stand is different than their opposition. Even the terminology has lost its pretense of civility: referring to the "opposition," using inflammatory rhetoric to describe any position but one's own.I would offer up praise to the Senate on their attempts to work together; but, I have less respect and admiration for the House members who have been posturing and parading for the cameras. I suggest we contact our elected representatives, Senate and House, and tell them it's time to grow up and learn to work together for the same of our country.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

284 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-4304


202-224-0776 (FAX)

Sen. John Cornyn

517 Hart Senate Office Bldg.

Washington, DC 20510

Main: 202-224-2934

Fax: 202-228-2856

Congressman K. Michael Conaway

2430 Rayburn H.O.B.

Washington, DC 20515

phone: (202) 225-3605

fax: (202) 225-1783

It’s all just my opinion.

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