The average age of the current Congress is 58.6 years old. That may be a surprising statistic to anyone who follows their shenanigans with any regularity.
Democrat or Republican doesn’t really matter at this point. The games from both are getting old.
Too many businesses have been negatively impacted, some already permanently closed. Too many people are still out of work. Too many have jobs but wonder how long that’ll last. Too many Americans are hurting.
All this during a pandemic that has killed more than 150,000 and shows signs of growing, not relinquishing.
And here’s the United States, one of the richest countries known to humanity, and we cannot buy good leadership.
Each member of the U.S. Senate is paid a handsome $174,000 a year — unless they are in leadership; that salary is $193,400.
That’s a lot of money. How many workers in southern Iowa sweat all day to earn less than a third of that?
Yet those workers have had to struggle through the pandemic, working in dangerous conditions, to keep this country going.
What did our senators do? They played partisan politics and now the rest of us will suffer. And this is far from their first offense.
These senators will collect their paychecks regardless. But with many provisions in the CARES Act expiring or already expired, the economy is back into a vulnerable state.
The $600 per week unemployment boost is now gone. Even if Congress actually manages to come to a deal, it could be weeks before the antiquated unemployment systems used by each individual state can resume the payments. A reminder, more than 1,000 remain unemployed here in Wapello County alone.
Businesses and families could use a boost provided by another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. A renewed round of the Paycheck Protection Program could help, too.
States, cities, counties and schools could use the extra funding to deal with budget shortfalls and extra expenses related to their COVID-19 response.
Food insecurity is a big deal — where’s the expansion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps)? Those benefits expired in June.
And don’t misunderstand, we’re not fans of the U.S. House bill drafted by Democrats, either. At least they produced something, but we don’t give them much credit on the substance.
The Senate, controlled by Republicans, came in with a week-late proposal that, while technically cheaper than the House proposal, should offend any fiscal conservative.
The HEALS Act is ludicrous. Lawmakers tried to sneak in $1.8 billion for a new FBI headquarters, $8 billion to the Department of Defense to offset the money President Donald Trump took from their budget to throw toward his border wall, a controversial provision for Social Security — the list goes on.
Who does the U.S. Congress serve, again? It’s time to end the games, roll up some sleeves and get some work done. Come up with legislation that benefits American people, American communities and American businesses.
Now’s not the time for a recess (The House has postponed their recess, the Senate is scheduled to leave Aug. 7). Given the delay in releasing proposals, let alone coming to an agreement, you’ve had plenty of days off already.