The dysfunctional Congress
written by Ron:
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April 9, 2031.
The silver haired Senator from the great Northeastern state had asked for an emergency joint session of both Houses of Congress. He had given no reason for this extraordinary request.
Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives knew that if this highly respected Senator had asked for something of this significance then it must be of great importance.
Rumors bounced through the walls of both institutions. The cable news channels devoted all their programming to the big question – “What was the reason for the esteemed Senator calling for a joint session of Congress?”
Three days after his call for the special session the sun broke through the gathering clouds covering Washington D.C. and the Senator walked from his condo in the Watergate complex to the Capital Building. Only he knew the subject of his speech. The good Senator was about to present to Congress something that had never been done before in the nation’s history.
Five hundred and thirty four elected representatives and Senators began to gather in the halls of Congress. They took their seats amidst the air of mystery about their requested attendance.
Exactly at 10 a.m. the Senator walked to the podium. There was no applause, just questioning glances and wondering frowns.
The President Pro Tem of the Senate rapped his gavel and introduced the Senator.
“My fellow Americans. I have come before you during this crucial year of 2031 in our nation’s history. We have long been mired in recession, if not depression. We have been fighting endless wars in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Korea for decades.
“Unemployment has gone from under ten percent to its current figure of 16 percent. Inflation has grown and is out of control. There has been a significant increase of crime in our streets.
“Let us not deceive ourselves, ladies and gentlemen of both houses of Congress, America’s trust in us, we Senators and Representatives, has reached its lowest point in our country’s history. We are thought of as puppets on the string of our marionette masters; answering only to the orders of our party leaders. We are viewed as political obstructionists. The populace believes that we are interested only in making money, gathering power and collecting our bloated retirement benefits. The nation’s faith in our ability to honestly represent the citizens of America has withered to the point of impotence.
“And so, I stand before you, asking you, my fellow Americans, to join me in an unprecedented action. What I propose to you is something that I hope will help to solve our country’s deepening problems in a manner that we have proven we are not capable of doing under our existing structure.
“My fellow Americans, I propose that for the next twenty four months members of both houses of Congress work together to resolve the enormous problems that exist in our country. We will put aside our political differences or surely our nation will flounder worse than it is today.
“We will dedicate ourselves to enacting solutions that will return our country to its greatness. Our dedication will be towards finding answers on how to end of the wars in which we are currently engaged. Answers to our immigration dilemma, job creation, food safety, labor laws, campaign finance, transportation safety, wildfire management, judicial appointments, pilot training, inflation, Wall Street wrongdoing and our own Congressional transgressions.
“Under our present structure I have no doubt that politics and the worry concerning our reelection will take precedence over the finding of solutions to our nation’s serious and fragmenting problems.
“In order for us to honestly be exclusively devoted to our nation’s problems I propose that every one of us resign from our positions twenty four months from today. This action will assure the American public that our only goal is to help our country and its citizenry. I further ask that we do not run for any elected position – ever again.
“At the end of twenty four months an election will be held to fill the seats of the Senate and the House.
“Hopefully, at the end of these twenty four months we will have ended the current wars in which we are engaged and we will have passed legislation that will begin to solve our nation’s most compelling problems. Hopefully, America will be returned to its former glory.
“Hopefully, America’s view of us will change. Americans will see that we have given up our seats to bring America to a better place, unfettered by political or financial gain.
“We will have done what we were elected to do. To provide Americans what the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence has promised all of our citizens.
“By solving our problems and leaving office we will have shown America and the world that our form of Democracy works and that respect may once again be brought to these two houses.
“I also propose that whatever benefits you have accrued you may keep, but that in the course of the next twenty four months you realign the pay and benefits for Senators and Representatives to no greater than that is paid to the average America worker.
“I ask for your affirmative vote on the proposal before you.
The Senators and Representatives were stunned silent.
A roll call vote was called.
Senators voted. Representatives voted.
The result was 534 nays. One aye.
The next day the Senate and the House returned to business as usual. The wars continued as did all the other problems in America.