Ted Budd: Congress owes voters real results

Greensboro News & Record

The first time Gallup polled the approval rating of the U.S. Congress, the year was 1974, and over the course of that year, it was about 40 percent.

At the beginning of this year, that approval rating had been cut in half, clocking in at an embarrassing 19 percent.

Congress worked a great deal more in 1974. That Congress was in session for more than nine full work weeks longer than the most recent one. That’s more than two months of work time. It’s no wonder the American people flat-out hate Congress — we’re taking too much time off.

The lack of work time in Washington has come home to roost this year. There are four big-ticket items on the Republican agenda: Obamacare repeal, tax reform, the president’s infrastructure bill and funding the president’s border wall. Each represents a solution to an urgent problem: The insurance market is in a death spiral of rising premiums because of Obamacare’s flawed design; our tax system is the least competitive in the First World; roads and bridges are crumbling; and we have 11 million illegal aliens in our country. None of these bills has been signed into law.

In the midst of this lack of success and time crunch, Congress is about to go on vacation for an entire month. It will not meet for a single day in the month of August.

That’s beyond unacceptable. I made the decision to run for office because I wanted to work to get the change that we need to see in our country — more jobs, lower taxes, better roads and fewer regulations. Seven months ago, I was running a business in Forsyth County. If I’d closed up shop for a month, I wouldn’t have had a business to come back to.

Congress should operate along similar lines and cancel the August recess. No vacations until we get at least one of our four major priorities completed and signed into law.

Passing bills in a country of 320 million people is not easy. Thomas Jefferson said that “the ground of liberty is to be gained by inches.” The same is true of lawmaking. The nature of the process is that it is deliberative, it is painstaking, and it’s messy. Most of all, it takes time — ironically, the one thing we don’t have.

When the Democrats had this opportunity in 2009, they took it. They passed a massive bill regulating the financial system, a $787 billion economic stimulus, and Obamacare. They pushed their agenda to its absolute limit and got as much done as they possibly could. If the current members of the Republican Congress would like to do the same, canceling the August recess would be the first step.

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