A Christmas Letter from Congress
Congress’ Christmas letter! An update on all they’ve been up to over the past year.
We know most of you are just settling down for a long winter’s nap, with visions of sugarplums and all those other things dancing in your heads, but we wanted to take a moment to update you — our constituents — on Congress’s achievements this year.
First, we must apologize for the tardiness of this letter. You see, we just got done finalizing the extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax laws. Just in time, too! They were set to expire on January 1st, and you would have hit the roof when you saw your new tax bill! Instead, we decided to extend them…at least for a couple years. Of course, that won’t do much to lessen the uncertainty American businesses and families are facing, but hey, it’s better than nothing – right?
Come to think of it, we’ve been a little tardy with most things this year. And then there are the things we just skipped all together.
For the first time in the modern budgeting era, the House failed to pass — or even to write — a budget! Oops! At least we can say our work this year was, um … historic?!
Congress also failed to pass a single individual appropriations bill. It’s all good, though. Congress has dropped the ball on doing our appropriations work lots of times, and we did eventually come up with an omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2011. But it was filled with those earmarks you all hate so much, so we decided to scrap it. Instead we went with a temporary fix, funding the government through the spring. Why not kick the can down the road a bit?
Now before you get upset with us, there were a few things we worked very hard to get done –
While many of us here think it’s okay to force you to do something, few of us like to apply that same rule to ourselves. That’s why in January the Senate voted down a plan from Sens. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) to create a deficit commission. That plan would have required us to actually vote on the commission’s proposals. Eew! We much preferred President Obama’s executive order, which established a commission that, in the end, didn’t agree on anything and didn’t require us to agree on anything either.
In conclusion, we’d like to look at some key numbers from 2010 –
The unemployment rate fell from 10 percent last December to 9.8 percent currently. That’s a whole two-tenths of a percentage point!
Our approval was 25 percent last December. It was 13 percent in the latest Gallup poll. Sure, it’s the lowest in history, but that means some of you still like us!
So, on that bit of good news, we leave you to your thoughts of sugarplums. We’ll be back in early January. Bet you can’t wait to see what we do (or don’t do – ha!) then.