A Failure of Leadership in Congress

Posted: Sep 30, 2010 11:07 AM
A guest post by Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky:

Every family, every small business, every individual in this nation has to sit down and examine their budget. In these difficult economic times, it is an even more painstaking task and often, hard decisions have to be made. For some families, a choice has to be made between putting food on the table or paying the mortgage. For small businesses owners, they are often faced with the choice of keeping the doors open or laying off workers. Needless to say, hardworking taxpayers have no choice but to make these decisions far more often then they would like to.

Given this reality, why is it that Congress lives in an alternate universe?

Today, the House passed the FY 2010 Continuing Resolution (CR) because the Democrats in power weren’t willing to sit down and do their job and pass a budget. This CR is emblematic of a larger problem facing Washington today -- the inability of the Majority to lead. It is simply inexcusable at a time of mounting debt, with record home foreclosures, nearly 10% of Americans out of work, and economic turmoil, that the Democrats have failed to enact a budget, cut wasteful spending, and fund our Nation’s priorities.

What is even more disturbing is that the security of our nation, which should be Congress’ top priority, has been pushed to the backburner. Over the last year, our nation has been faced with the Christmas Day attack, the Fort Hood massacre, the attempted Times Square bombing and more. Yet, the Democrat majority seems content to let the year simply wind down while our enemies plot, prepare and plan.

Almost 3 months ago the Subcommittee on Homeland Security Appropriations
completed the fiscal year 2011 funding bill so that agencies like the Coast Guard, TSA, Border Patrol and more would have an updated budget to reflect the terror threats currently facing our nation. And 12 weeks later, this bill has gone nowhere. The Majority is perfectly content to take a long vacation, and duck out on the tough and important votes before the midterm elections.

This is unacceptable. The American people do not deserve this CR. They deserve
answers. They are the ones who are struggling. They are the ones facing higher taxes next year if Congress fails to act. I am disgusted that Congress can’t even fulfill its basic
duties and pass a proper budget. Today’s CR is nothing but a political ploy to protect the vulnerable Majority. I hope Americans see this for what it is and hold those who lack the leadership to make tough decisions accountable.

[Rep. Rogers serves on the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for the federal budget.]