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Nothing Done for Veterans

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Sometimes it is better to have some distance from a problem so as to get a better perspective. Other times it just doesn’t make a damned bit of difference how far or near one is—it remains a problem. Take the 112th Congress for example. I’m looking at them from the southeastern part of Mexico and my perspective hasn’t changed at all. This Congress first convened in January 2011 and in the intervening 13 months has done less to better the lot of the average American than any other Congress in living memory. Is it any wonder that their approval rating is in the single digits?

Let’s take a look at just the month of December. I’m sure that almost everyone knows unemployment is high; the economy is sluggish; foreclosures remain high and we have seen increases in the cost of gasoline. What has Congress done about any of these problems? Well, in my opinion, nada, zip, zilch. In fact, they seem to have exacerbated our problems. In the month of December a grand total of seven bills passed both the Senate and the House and became laws. Granted it was the holiday season. But seven bills that made it into law of the hundreds that had been submitted... really? 

Obviously, those that made it into law must have been essential for the good of the country, right? Not in the least. Three of these bills dealt with land swaps between the federal government and state or county governments. Two of these laws dealt with changes to the federal charters of the American Legion and Blue Star Mothers. One law allowed the United States Post Office to raise fees to fund additional research into breast cancer. And last but not least, a modification was made to the way in which bonds issued by a joint commission in Missouri and Illinois attained maturity. Now, I’m sure that all of these bills probably served good and valid purposes but I think it is a true measure of just how dysfunctional this Congress is if this is the best they can do.

The GOP-controlled House came in on a ‘Tea Party’ wave in 2011 to get the federal government off the people’s back. What have they done in the past 13 months? They have done nothing that even resembles the rhetoric they rode in on. Instead they have concentrated on trying to de-fund Planned Parenthood, National Public Radio and television; define marriage and limit who you can love; and, limit your access to the voting booth. Where have they done anything to get “government” out of our daily lives? I think that they have actually added to governmental intrusion into our daily lives. What right does the federal government have to dictate personal choices? Family matters are just that—family matters and neither the state nor the federal governments have any right to tell us what is ‘right’ for us to choose.

I don’t want to place all the blame on the House of Representatives—there is plenty of blame to go around for the Senate too. Thanks to the arcane rules in that ‘Old Boys Club,’ all it takes to bring that august body to a shuddering halt is for one senator to ‘suggest’ that he—or she—may consider a filibuster of any piece of legislation that they take umbrage with. What we have here, folks, is a complete failure of governance. The House passes stuff (I didn’t use the word that I wanted to here as this is a family publication) they know full well will never get through the Senate. The Senate is prevented from passing anything meaningful at all because of the filibuster threat and the leadership of the GOP in both houses has the gall to blame the President for a lack of ‘leadership’. You’ve got to be kidding me!

How can the President possibly be blamed for the complete gridlock in the body that is charged in the U. S. Constitution with creating the laws that govern this nation? Anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the Constitution should know this. Yet, all of those currently running to be the GOP nominee for President in November tries to blame the sitting President for this morass. The hypocrisy of these charges simply astounds me. If one takes a close look at these posers it becomes obvious that they have no foundation to their arguments.

The President is charged with enforcing the laws passed by the Congress. He has very limited input into the content or context of those laws. He can suggest programs and plans but has no authority to enact any laws. Granted, he has limited authority to enact Executive Orders, but they are limited to what is allowed in laws already passed by Congress. If he doesn’t like what they pass he can veto these bills but the Congress can override his veto with a majority vote of both houses. 

I didn’t intend for this article to be a civics lesson but it appears that this is another subject not being taught anymore. Due, I feel, to the long-range plan that has been going on for over thirty years to dumb down the electorate and turning the average voter into a lamb being lead to slaughter. 

I tried to find something that dealt with veterans issues but due to the shear paucity of any legislative action of any kind I failed in my search. Maybe when they are on the campaign trail our legislators may actually address some of the things that really need to be dealt with. We have thousands of young men and woman returning from Iraq and Afghanistan that will be looking for employment very soon. They’ll want to return to their normal civilian lives and reintegrate back into society. What will our legislators do to make this an easy transition? My guess: they’ll do what they’ve been doing since they took office in January 2011—nothing. 

We have real problems and we need real dialogue and action. We need to let our elected representatives know that we are unhappy with the status quo. Don’t let our representatives get away with their usual lies and empty rhetoric. Take them to task and tell them to get back to the real work of governance. That’s what they are being paid (very, very well I might add) to do. I don’t believe that they have been really earning those wages.

So, until next month Amigos, let’s keep hoping that our elected officials start to actually begin to govern instead of making political points with meaningless posturing. 

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Author info

Gil  Beyer Gil Beyer A 21 year Navy veteran, lived in Bonner County for over 30 years, Past Commander of the Priest River DAV Chapter and admitted news junkie.

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veterans, elections, Congress, Veterans News

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