Obama, Congress, Finish Strong

But Congress still has more work to do.

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As a political consultant it always amazes me how focused my clients become when they are in real political trouble. So congratulations to President Obama for pulling a couple of rabbits out of a couple hats and getting the Senate to ratify the New START Treaty with the Russians and to repeal the military’s odious “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against gay soldiers and sailors. The folks on Fox News were hopping mad at the Senate and that’s good enough for me.

As the faithful readers of the TJS blog know, I was angry at the president for caving into congressional Republicans and agreeing to extend the Bush tax bonanza for bankers and billionaires. But the president demonstrated leadership and a deft touch in the last week of the lame duck session.

And as a college professor, it is always striking how much of their course work my students do in the last week of the semester. So I want to congratulate Congress for getting off its butt and finally doing the right thing for the people who worked on the 9/11 cleanup.

It was good to watch Congress address the tough deadlines that it faced this week but members of Congress need to demonstrate the same urgency when it comes to addressing other pressing national problems. The official unemployment rate is still near 10 percent. But Washington seems content to hope the economy gets better instead of taking any concrete steps to improve what is still a dire situation for millions of American families. And I don’t think giving Donald Trump another tax cut will do the trick.

And finally there are two other issues that will not go away even though Congress appears indifferent to them. Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act which would have rewarded young immigrants with American citizenship for their service to their adopted country. And the Senate failed to pass any legislation that would address the health problems created by greenhouse gases. [See a roundup of editorial cartoons about immigration.]

But Christmas is the season to be thankful so I am content to congratulate Congress for what it has done and wait until January 1 to push Capitol Hill to do what it needs to do.

  • Read more about the deficit and national debt.
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