"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“The Dumbest Affectation In Congress”: Members Making A Statement Of Their ‘Contempt For Washington’

There are a lot of stupid things members of Congress do to show the folks back home that though they moved hell and high water to get their jobs in Washington, D.C., they find everything about the place repugnant and despicable, and can’t wait to get away. But there are few pieces of posturing more inane than the decision to sleep in your Capitol Hill office as a demonstration that you haven’t gone native like all those sellouts with their apartments and closets and bathrooms.

I can see how a newly elected member might decide to sleep in her office while she gets settled and looks for a place. And being in Congress can be financially and logistically taxing, particularly for those who come from the West coast—you have to maintain two homes, and are expected to fly back nearly every weekend to shake hands at the county fair and pose for pictures at the senior center. But in the last few years it’s become de rigueur, particularly among Tea Partiers, to make a statement of their contempt for Washington by making their office their home, sleeping on a couch and showering at the House gym—and making sure that everybody hears about it. And now, according to the Wall Street Journal, female Republican members are getting into the act, and I do mean act:

Reps. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Lynn Jenkins of Kansas and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington are believed to be the first congresswomen to bunk in their offices, joining the ranks of lawmakers eschewing rent and a commute for an air mattress and showers at one of the congressional gyms. Like their male counterparts, the women are forgoing beds, bathtubs and home-cooked meals primarily to save money and maximize efficiency—and for some, to also make a political point—on the four days a week they generally spend in Washington. All three previously lived in apartments, not always close to the Capitol…

Male lawmakers have been bunking desk-side for decades, a practice that surged after Republicans took control of the House in 1995 and again in 2011, after the tea-party wave. Their ranks now are thought to top about two dozen. Some lawmakers like Reps. Noem and Jenkins also say crashing in the office sends a message to constituents: They don’t plan to appear too settled in Washington.

“It was never my goal to come to DC and be comfortable,” said Mrs. Noem, a deputy for the new majority whip.

Oh, spare me. If you’re doing it because you don’t want to get too settled in Washington, then I assume you won’t be running for re-election, right? I thought so.

I’ll grant that as far as affectations go, this one certainly takes commitment. But how exactly is sleeping in your office supposed to keep you connected with the real America? What’s going to make you more “out of touch,” getting an apartment so you can have a good night’s sleep when you’re doing the people’s business, or literally never leaving Capitol Hill? Is signing a one-year lease on a studio going to suddenly make you change your views on deficit spending or tax cuts or the next trade deal? If it is, your constituents probably shouldn’t have elected you in the first place.


By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, August 6, 2014

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Congress, Republicans | , , , , | 1 Comment

“50th Time Is The Charm”: For House Republicans, The Affordable Care Act Is Not About Policy And Governing Isn’t Their Goal

Last week, after House Republicans announced an upcoming vote on undermining the Affordable Care Act, President Obama took some time to mock GOP lawmakers for their pointless hobby. “You know what they say: 50th time is the charm,” he joked at a DNC event. “Maybe when you hit your 50th repeal vote, you will win a prize. Maybe if you buy 50 repeal votes, you get one free. We get it. We understand. We get you don’t like it. I got it.”

But by all appearances, Republicans aren’t concerned about mockery. They’re proceeding today with their plan to go after the ACA’s individual mandate – again. By most counts, it will be the 50th time House Republicans have voted to gut some or all of the health care law since 2011, even though they fully realize their bill has no chance of being signed into law.

The House is set to vote Wednesday on a bill by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) to effectively delay the individual mandate for one year by reducing the penalty in 2014 for not buying insurance from $95 to $0.

The Republican-led chamber passed a similar bill last July, capturing 22 Democratic votes. Now that it’s an election year, it’s plausible that a significant number of Democrats will defect, given the unpopularity of the individual mandate and the likelihood that Senate Democrats will throw the bill in the garbage once it arrives.

House Republicans are under no illusions about the legislation’s prospects, but governing isn’t the goal. This is about an election-year stunt intended to help GOP lawmakers feel better, maybe motivate the base a bit, and create the basis for some new attack ads against Democrats.

Whether or not one approves of this waste of time, it remains a ridiculous display.

For one thing, the effort itself would be a substantive disaster if the bill actually became law. Clearly the GOP is in its post-policy phase, so real-world implications are no longer considered before bills receive votes, but the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published an analysis yesterday and found that the House’s proposal would increase the number of Americans without insurance and lead to higher health care premiums in the individual market. How do Republican leaders respond to revelations like these? They don’t – this isn’t about policy, so the implications are deemed irrelevant.

For another, this is quite a bit of effort over a policy Republicans supported up until a few years ago – the mandate used to be a key feature of GOP health care plans.

House Republicans could be using their time wisely right now. Maybe they could work on real legislation; maybe they could present their “Obamacare” alternative they’ve been promising for years.

But that just doesn’t seem to interest them. Americans are instead stuck watching their House of Representatives spin its wheels, picking up self-satisfying “message” bills.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 5, 2014

March 6, 2014 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Obamacare | , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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