The conventional wisdom is that the 110th Congress, which is getting close to its summer break, has been a let-down. Thanks to presidential vetoes and unprecedented Republican filibusters in the Senate, a Congress which had high expectations in January is ending July on a disappointing note.
Now is probably a good time to push back against this meme. There have been setbacks, and were it not for GOP games we would have seen even more successes, but Dems are proving to be quite capable of running an effective majority. In their weaker moments, even Republicans are willing to acknowledge this.
“[Congressional Democrats have] had a pretty strong quarter,” said Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), who praised [the legislation expanding SCHIP] as “creative” and suggested the homeland security bill would pass overwhelmingly. “The first quarter was not so good, and that’s why they’re not looking so good in the polls, but this quarter is looking very good for them. They can send their members home crowing about their accomplishments, and they’ve done it in a bipartisan way, which is exactly what they promised to do,” LaHood said.
Indeed, the Democratic Caucus published a fairly impressive list of legislative accomplishments. I heard some GOP lawmaker suggest the other day that this be labeled the “Post-Office Congress” because all the chambers have been able to do is rename post offices. The tale of the tape shows otherwise.