“No one is going to do anything big or risky,” say congressional assistants echoing their bosses. “By big and risky, they mean nothing.”
The pace for crisis has come to a halt, though not to a bi-partisan agreement on any of the conflicts still present between the Republican-majority House and the President/Senate. With November elections teetering on the brink of changing the balance of power, static is the new action.
“Many bills and debates have been left hanging,” said political strategist Murray Welk, who claims to be a distant relative of the late bandleader Lawrence Welk. “Most lawmakers are fatigued from the battles that have been raging between the parties. Many congressmen have been seen at local health stores buying vitamins and minerals to get them back into shape. Personally, I don’t believe half of them know the difference between vitamins and minerals.”
House Speaker John Boehner said he stopped fighting at the point where Democrats were mispronouncing his name on purpose (they were pronouncing ‘Boe’ as ‘Bo,’ not ‘Bay’).
“That was a low point,” said a source close to Boehner. “His entire staff nodded their heads in disgust when the Speaker slipped out of the room quietly. Some say he was sobbing.”
Issues concerning trade and immigration are but two items left for debate.
“As far as trade and immigration are concerned,” said a congressman who talked to us under the condition of anonymity, “the last thing I heard was that we may be able to solve them both in one fell swoop, that is, by trading immigrants and putting a surcharge on them. One of my colleagues suggested we trade immigrants for raw materials, whatever the hell those might be. But we will deal with that next year.”
Another issue is spending. The we-spend-too-much lawmakers of the spending argument are content to let be spent all that is being spent, regardless of it being too much spent, until next year when they meet with those on the we-don’t-spend-enough side of the spending argument. One congressional secretary said that both sides have to spend time thinking about the upcoming fight on spending.
There is a major transportation bill in limbo.
“Imagine that,” said political strategist A.H. Probe, “a transportation bill that cannot move. If a transportation bill is stagnant then it has nothing to do with transporting anything, does it? A transportation bill must move and it should move like a shark, cruising along smoothly, making a path forward, progressing and nurturing.”
“What is the U.S. transporting?” said a congressional aid. “We need to argue over a bill that puts regulations of moving stuff from one place to another? What is free enterprise for, anyway? And doesn’t that bring up the true issue here, that being free enterprise?”
“Free enterprise and Obamacare,” said a Republican strategist, “those are the battlefields. You can’t start an insurance company these days because of Obamacare and that is un-American. Everyone should be able to start the kind of company they want to have without all the regulations being glued to legislation. And why do we spend money on glue to attach these regulations when cheap paper clips or staples can do the job? Perhaps it’s because we cannot transport the staples quickly enough due to the transportation bill’s inability to be passed. Bills need ability. The word ‘bill’ is in the word ability, though it is missing one letter.”
So what are lawmakers saying to each other if they are not talking issues?
“Some of us were talking about John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress who will reture,” said a congressman no one recognized, though he sits on the Democrat side of the chamber. “We want to build a monument to the old boy. Fifty-eight years is a long time to work at any job. I don’t know if I will stay that long. Most of the people in Congress don’t even know I am here yet and I have been here working for my district in the great state of Oh-dee-an-ston or one of those mid-east-southern states.”
Few legislation sessions are scheduled before the November elections, meaning that meat-and-potato basics won’t even be addressed.
“We will be serving meat and potatoes for lunch, though,” said a cook in the House cafeteria. “The stew is popular, especially with mashed potatoes. I have worked here for ten years and I am still amazed at how congressmen cannot tell the difference between instant mashed potatoes and mashed potatoes that come from actual potatoes. But I guess that is just one more reason why the farm bill hasn’t been passed yet, either.”
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