News / USA

Experts Say US Congress Paralyzed by Partisan Posturing

Cindy Saine
CAPITOL HILL — Republicans who hold the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives have passed more than 20 ideologically-based bills in recent months.  But the bills -- on issues such as repealing parts of President Barack Obama's health care reform law -- have no chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled Senate or of ever becoming law.  

The Republican-led House of Representatives has been busy passing socially and fiscally conservative bills on limiting abortion and restricting government regulation of corporations.  At the same time, the House took months to pass student loan and highway funding bills -- popular measures that in the past, would have passed easily with a broad, bipartisan majority.

House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, expressed frustration about the bickering over the student loan bill.

"But why do people insist that we have to have a political fight, on something where there is no fight.  There is absolutely no fight.  People want to politicize this, because it is an election year.  But my God, do we have to fight about everything?," Boehner said.

Democrats blamed Republicans for the deadlock, objecting to Republican insistence on financing popular measures by cutting social welfare programs for the poor.

"But instead the majority is engaging in another partisan attack on public health funding, funding that improves the lives of Americans and the productivity of our work force. I strongly oppose this position," said Rep. Lois Capps.  

In the end, the House managed to pass the highway bill and the student loans bill just before they were due to expire.  The student loan bill saves millions of college students from having the interest rates double on their federally-subsidized student loans.
 
Political analyst Norman Ornstein of the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute says House Republicans have passed a number of ideologically-driven bills to please their conservative Tea Party base.

"Look, there is no question that the Republicans in the House, using their majority, have been able to pass a number of things that have no chance of making it through the Senate," Ornstein said.

The problem, he says, is that now the House of Representatives is not doing much else.

"You know, there is nothing illegitimate about taking positions and saying here is where we stand.  Where it moves into a territory that damages the congressional reputation is if you don't supplement that with at least some attempt at problem-solving in other areas," Ornstein said.

Retiring Congressman Barney Frank, a liberal Democrat, says the breakdown of functioning in Congress has been recent -- and he blames the influence of Tea Party members.

"Even more though was the victory in 2010, within the Republican Party, of a very angry group of people who don't believe in governance and who believe that you should not cooperate," Frank said.

Most conservatives argue that the U.S. government is too big already, and that it should not be interfering in health care and other personal matters.  It will be up to voters in November to determine who is in charge in the White House and Congress -- and how big a role the federal government should play in American's lives.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: rgw1946 from: usa
July 09, 2012 12:35 PM
Career politicians doing what they do best..collecting a pay ck..retirement and healthcare from tax payers and do NOTHING>> pass around>> time fire RECALL all of them ....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs