Thursday, December 20, 2007

Needing a Lesson In How Congress Works

No I am not talking about the average Joe on the street (who probably does need a lesson or two), but Members of Congress themselves. Betsy Newmark has the news story and the appropriate commentary:
I hope that Dennis Kucinich and Maxine Waters know better. They've both been around long enough to know how Congress works and that the majority can't push through whatever they want especially when there is divided government. It was always extremely doubtful that policy was going to be directed out of the House of Representatives. The Senate allows for the minority to stall and block legislation as long as they can stick together. Given that the Democrats had been adept at utilizing those rules when the Republicans were in the majority was there any real reason to think that Republicans wouldn't return the favor?

Too many people have bought into the fantasy of "I'm just a bill on Capitol Hill" and don't understand all the procedural blocks that can stall out legislation. When I teach the legislative process in my AP Government we have a day when we list all the "Kill Bill" moments in the process. If more students were taught about how the process really works, perhaps these activists wouldn't be so disappointed when the majority party can't get their desired legislation through.
I wonder if Kucinich and Waters have ever given long thought to the fact that the Framers designed this system to prevent willy nilly changes in policy and politics based on the "passions" of the People's House.

Probably not.

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