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July 26, 2014

Congress is Completely Broken

First Read: "Yes, Congress has typically been divided over ideology (liberal vs. conservative) or geography (North vs. South, big states vs. small ones). And, yes, partisan flare-ups in the summer of an election year are hardly new. But here is why this Congress appears more broken than past ones: It can't even seem to do the small, bipartisan things anymore. Case in point is the legislative dysfunction surrounding the responses to 1) the unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, and 2) reforming the VA hospitals across the country. Almost every member -- Democratic or Republican -- said the situation at the border was a humanitarian crisis that needed a response. But passing emergency spending (between $2 to $4 billion in aid) has become such a difficult lift, and looks less likely by the day. Last month, every member of Congress said VA hospitals needed to better serve veterans, and the Senate (by a 93-3 vote) and House (426-0) passed legislation to reform these hospitals. But they've been unable to come together in a conference committee to reconcile the two bills."

"Folks, we're not talking about overhauling the nation's health-care system, enacting comprehensive immigration reform, raising taxes, or changing entitlement programs -- all of which have sparked fierce ideological battles in the past. We're talking about the small stuff, actions that either have near-universal support or that cost relative drops in the federal budget. That's why this gridlock is different."


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