Newspaper article Roll Call

A Congress in Chaos Throws off the Balance of Power

Newspaper article Roll Call

A Congress in Chaos Throws off the Balance of Power

Article excerpt

The past several years have marked a significant shift in the balance of power in Washington, and Congress has no one but itself to blame.

Speaker John A. Boehner has recently threatened to sue the president over executive actions taken by the administration, writing in an op-ed, "the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold."

Reaction to this move by the speaker has been mixed on both sides of the aisle - but despite all of the finger pointing, both parties are to blame for the current state of dysfunction in our federal government.

While Democrats may view Boehner's lawsuit as a political stunt, it is certainly reflective of a Congress that has descended into total chaos, unable to perform even the most basic functions of government instilled by the Constitution. The emerging culture of obstruction and hyper partisanship in Washington is threatening to derail any hopes of a functioning Congress for years, even decades to come. This will only serve to strengthen the hand of the executive and judicial branches, regardless of the party in power.

The state of dysfunction in the Congress not only throws off the balance of power, it also leads to a level of economic uncertainty that prevents American businesses, both large and small, from being able to plan for the future. And when businesses are uncertain about the future, it impacts their ability to create jobs and ultimately become greater drivers of our economic recovery.

The fact is we have built a system that not only rewards partisanship, but also discourages members of Congress from so much as speaking with members of the opposing party, lest they risk defeat in primary elections. Partisan politics was also the driving force behind the movement to "eliminate" earmarks, which did nothing to address our budget deficit and served only to shift the balance of power further away from the Congress to the executive branch.

Districts have been so gerrymandered over the years that only a small fraction are even remotely competitive. …

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