What with Donald Trump and Chuck Schumer buying one another wrist corsages, and two hurricanes, and a crazy head of state with a really bad hair-do in North Korea shooting off ICBMs like they are cherry bombs in an Iowa cornfield, and Bernie Sanders taking the lead on Repeal and Replace with his Medicare for All plan, and the U.S. Senate trying to craft a tax bill (which has to start in the House anyway) …
I forgot where I was going with this.
Oh, yes. U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo) bemoaned the fate of a fix for DACA - the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program saying, "With all the other things going on right now, it's kind of put on the back burner."
Both the Senate and House committees charged with turning the Obama-era Executive Order into real (and Constitutional) legislation have turned their attention elsewhere.
Congress is single-tracking.
Here, in Our Nation's Capital, the subway system is called the Metro, but the word "Metro" is very often preceded by an adjective that we cannot repeat in a family political column such as Mullings.
One of the reasons is the Metro is so badly maintained that there are almost daily warnings that the Blue, or Orange, or Red, or Yellow line is "single tracking." That is, trains going in opposite directions are using the same track.
Because we know that the Pauli Exclusion Principle (which clearly states that two identical fermions cannot occupy the same quantum state simultaneously within a quantum system) also applies to subway cars, one of the trains has to stop and pull over so the other can pass.
This tends to slow the system dramatically.
The U.S. Congress appears to be extending the Pauli Exclusion Principle to include legislation: No two pieces of legislation can be considered by the Congress at the same time.
A million years ago, at the request of the Republican National Committee, I made an appearance on the Montel Williams show. This was during the Monica Lewinsky matter.
Mr. Williams was raging about the fact that the Congress had a lot of things to do and spending all of its time on Bill Clinton's sexual habits might not be the best possible use of its time.
I said that the entire Congress was not involved in the Lewinsky investigation. Only the Judiciary Committee was. There are, I continued, 435 Members of the U.S. House. Of those only 37 were on the Judiciary Committee. The other 398 Members are doing whatever else they are supposed to be doing.
Even 20 years ago, I was not new at this.
Montel allowed as to how he did not know that but recovered quickly enough to ask me if I had ever had an affair. I said, "You'd be amazed at how many women have never been with a short bald, married, middle aged, Jewish man." The audience (which had not, up to that point, been on my side) roared its approval.
Even 20 years ago I was not new at this.
If Montel Williams still had his show (and if I were still middle aged) I would not have been able to answer the question about the Congress being wrapped around the Axle of the Day.
Couldn't do anything until they Repealed and Replaced. After they couldn't do that, they couldn't do anything until they did a tax bill. They can't do a tax bill until they pass a budget (so they don't need 60 votes). Can't do an infrastructure bill until - ever.
Speaker Paul Ryan announced yesterday that he would release the "framework" of a tax bill on September 25. That would be like Paul Cook announcing, earlier this week, the engineering drawings of the iPhone 8, but not the actual phone.
It is time that the GOP-controlled Congress begin operating like it understands the art of governing.
And stop single tracking.