Don’t expect too much out of Congress

Elijah Anderson

With all the drama and backstabbing of an MTV reality television show, President Obama and Congress managed to strike a deal last week to simultaneously reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. Without further ado we can collectively breathe a temporary sigh of relief, kind of.

Unfortunately, I must be the bearer of bad news and highlight that this deal fails to address any spending or budgetary issues. In other words, it does nothing to address the very reasons our government was shut down in the first place. In fact, it is simply another extension for our Congress to work out these problematic issues later. Now, isn’t that promising given Congress’s immaculate track record thus far?

Is anyone shocked though? Did anyone really expect a comprehensive plan to address both of these controversial, but necessary, crises? Well, if you did, you must be one of the five percent of Americans who still approve of the job Congress is doing and, personally, I would love to meet you, interrogate you and berate you.

It seems to me that piecemeal, “kick the can down the road,” procrastinating measures like this have become the status quo of this administration and Congress. We deserve better than this child’s play. But alas, we are stuck with what we have and the current, but unpromising deal funds our government until Jan. 16 and increase the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. You do not have to be James Carville to recognize that all that this measure has done is simply push this critically necessary debate back further. Even worse, it pushes it into a midterm election year. Commence political fireworks now.

Next year we should expect far more brinksmanship than we witnessed this time around. Just imagine asking Republicans to increase taxes with primaries coming up? Good Luck. Then, consider asking Democrats for entitlement spending cuts? Such selfless behavior and compromise is uncharacteristic of this Congress. After all, the all-powerful and mysterious base of the parties must be appeased, even if it’s at the expense of millions of Americans in the middle.

Our only hope is that the one silver lining of this current deal succeeds. This condition is the proposed intensive negotiations scheduled to take place over the next couple of months. Behind closed doors, Republicans and Democrats will hack away at each other’s resolutions until hopefully some coherent and passable budget and debt resolution deal emerges satisfying demands on both sides of the aisle. This, however, will require President Obama and Democrats to recognize and mitigate our ludicrous spending and debt. Likewise, Republicans will have to ground their demands in reality and suggest reasonable spending cuts and debt solutions. Oh Congress, you exhaust me.