KATIE ZERR: Does this mean there will be compromise?
As most of the nation is mired in a cold blast of winter, there seems to have been a tad bit of a thaw in Washington, D.C.
It is not a full-blown spring thaw, mind you. There are no cherry blossoms blooming or grass pushing through the snow.
Just a little budget deal that, if approved, could keep this country from those expensive but point making shutdowns that allow certain members of Congress more camera time than usual to proclaim they are the voice of true Americans.
This is not members of the House and Senate sitting around a campfire, holding hands and singing Kumbaya, yet it is a small glimmer of hope.
To this date the 113th Congress (2013-2014) is on pace to be the most unproductive on record. This Congress, with President Barack Obama in the White House, the Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans the House, has passed 56 laws.
Of course, it is always the other guy’s fault when it comes to our nation’s lawmakers. Democrats, blame House Republicans for their reluctance to compromise and their insistence to bring legislation that only has support from a majority of Republicans.
House Republicans point the finger at the Democratic-controlled Senate. Recently House Majority Leader John Boehner said, “To date, the House has passed nearly 150 bills in this Congress that the United States Senate has failed to act on.”
There is the point of view that this is what happens when there is a divided government. But, statistics show even when the government has been divided, lawmakers have compromised and did what was best for the country. Divided government has never produced such a small number of laws until this group of non-compromisers took their place on the Hill.
History proves that divided governments can work and work well together.
For example, during the 112th Congress with Obama in the White House, Democrat Senate control, Republican House control, 283 laws were passed.
The 110th Congress with George W. Bush in White House, Democrats controlled both the Senate and the House and there were 460 laws passed.
In the 106th Congress with President Clinton in White House, with Republicans in control of both the Senate and the House, there were 580 laws passed.
In the 104th and 105th Congress with Clinton in White House, Republicans controlled both the Senate and the House control there were 727 laws passed combined.
The 101st and 102nd Congress Bush in White House, Democrats controlled both the Senate and House, and there were 1,240 laws passed.
The 100th Congress President Ronald Reagan in White House, Democrat controlled both the Senate and the House, there were 713 laws passed.
In fact, with Reagan in the White House, he worked with divided Congresses throughout his terms and still 2,472 laws were passed.
The unproductively of the 113th Congress is unprecedented.
The disrespect for this administration, the leadership in each of the houses of government and the “it’s my way or the highway,” attitude that has permeated Washington has kept us from moving forward in our economic recovery.
But a budget compromise has been reached! Can we get a “Halleluiah?” With expectations set this low it is easy to get excited over the small things.
But let’s not put the cart before the horse here. Congress still has to pass this budget. There are grumblings from the “We don’t agree with anything but what we want despite the damage to the country” sections of Congress.
Hopefully those in leadership roles will be able to rein this in and work to make this deal into what is best for this country and the people who elected this Congress.
At a press conference both Democrats and Republicans sounded a bit optimistic using words like compromise and breaking through the gridlock.
There has been a bit of a thaw in Congress this week.
Hopefully that means warmer days are ahead and cooler heads will prevail.