Last week’s 1.2 trillion dollar vote in Congress approving traditional infrastructure may be sending a message to the country that many of us should be concerned about.
We are a nation of commerce with a population that likes to move about. Our roads, bridges, railways, waterways and communications networks have been neglected by Congress and the Presidents for years. Politicians want credit for new ideas and projects. Maintaining and repairing existing projects hasn’t been a priority in Washington.
Forget politics, both parties have avoided the repair issue. Our roads and bridges need to be maintained. No one wants to see another interstate bridge collapse with potentially hundreds of cars and trucks traversing it.
Give Biden and the Senate, Republicans and Democrats credit for addressing the issue. One can certainly argue that there is a lot of pork in the bill, which most of us disapprove of, except when we are getting the pork.
The country needs major transportation repair. To get that most of us acknowledge that there will be some pork in the bill. We don’t like it, but that is how the sausage is made. The essence of the bill does make sense, even if a particular aspect of the bill may have excessive spending.
What concerns many of us who have traditional constitutional viewpoints is the procedure by which it was passed. Forget debate on the House floor. Speaker Pelosi was not going to allow for full and open debate. This bill was about political power. Discussions of what the bill would do for the American public was only an afterthought. Speaker Pelosi is probably as astute of a political person as the U. S. Congress has ever seen. She made this bill into a pure political power play.
The Democrats have the majority in both the House and Senate and with a Democratic President. She had the power and certainly used it. Six progressive Democrats did not join the vote wanting both more money and for the second Infrastructure bill to be voted on at the same time. The second bill is truly pork barrel and is not the topic of this article.
Thirteen Republicans crossed over and voted for the bill, which allowed it to pass. Those Republicans voiced the opinion that the country’s need for infrastructure repairs over road their objections to parts of the bill they disagreed with. Those thirteen Republicans are currently taking a lot of heat, including death threats, for their votes. The six progressives are taking heat from the moderates in the Democratic party.
This was an open vote on the floor of Congress. What then is the concern? The concern is that the vote was pure party politics, with the above exceptions noted. There was no real debate. Pelosi called the vote when she had the votes to pass bill. Great politics. Lousy government.
Our Constitution is based on the concept of debate. Even the minority is afforded the opportunity to be heard. Not with Speaker Pelosi. The Speaker had decreed and her minions fell in lock step to her wishes. What we are seeing is the precursor to a European style of government. Under the European model of parliamentary government Speaker Pelosi would in effect be the chief executive of our government.
Our founding fathers developed a system of government with checks and balances. They had just survived a Revolution to rid themselves of a King and did not want a strong central government, save for international relations. They wanted debate with input from all factions. We are rapidly moving to a strong consolidated central government, with limited involvement from the constituency. It is something that should concern us all.
Of further note: This is an opinion column and that means you are reading my thoughts. Your opinions also have merit and value. Please feel free to agree or disagree with me as choose.
You may also desire to place your opinion in writing, as in this column, If you wish to do that please contact Gordon Woods at the paper, [email protected] This is also a local paper, and oftentimes many groups and organizations don’t get their message out to the community.
I urge you to also contact Gordon and discuss getting your message and opinions out to the public. Debate and discussion is always appreciated.
An angry war of words serves no one. Your opinions matter.