The US Congress has left me befuddled and confused this week. They’re actually accomplishing things, in sharp contrast to their record earlier in the year. Aside from Wall Street reform, it’s as if the Health Care Reform battle paralyzed our representatives. Since the election – just since Thanksgiving, more accurately – there’s been a flurry of significant legislation enacted, all of it with the votes of at least a few Republicans.
Consider what’s happened in the past two weeks: The compromise vote that extended tax cuts and unemployment benefits; a new food safety bill, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the ratification of the New Start treaty, the passage of the 9/11 first responders health care bill, and extensions of funding for the military and for the entire government.
Earlier today President Obama said “we are not doomed to endless gridlock.” That may be so, but columnist Matt Bai had what I think is a more accurate explanation in his column in today’s New York Times. To paraphrase Bai, mutual self-interest often trumps ideology.”