Time for another lesson in Congressional politics. I am hearing a lot of talk that the Trump administration is in trouble because of division in his own party. If you have just been following Congressional politics for the last eight years, you probably don’t know that the current atmosphere in Congress is the actual model for that branch of government during its interaction with the executive branch (president).
What we have come to know as the day to day operation of Congress is that everyone of one party thinks the same, votes the way it is dictated to them by the head of their party, and votes against anything the other party has to do with. Not too many years ago that was not the way it operated at all.
The way Congress is supposed to work is that everyone questions every policy and every bill and debates the issues, then votes according to the conscience of the people in his or her district, not what the party boss or president tells them. That has not been the case for a number of years, but it is still the correct model.
In my lifetime, two of my favorite relationships were President Ronald Reagan, a Republican and Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, a Democrat. They could disagree on policy, standing bills and baseball teams, but when it came to working together to get things done, they did. Go online and check some photos of the two together. They understood the equality of the three branches of government. Another was the relationship between President Bill Clinton, a Democrat and Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican. To say those two disagreed on things would be an understatement, but at the end of the day they produced legislation in the best interest of the country.
The hate atmosphere in Washington is something one should really think about. With one party refusing to give the other party the time of day, you are paying their salaries to just hate each other and not accomplish anything.
When you see people in the president’s party not being rubber stamps, that is a good thing because it shows the vibrancy of those in the House and Senate, and that they are actually both, the president and Congress, trying to best represent you, the constituent.
I have heard members of Congress say they were sent to Washington to vote their conscience. That is absolutely not true. They were sent to Washington to vote your conscience. When they don’t, replace them in the next election.
So don’t judge it as the end of the world because members of the president’s own party do not rubber stamp his lgislation. That is exactly as it should operate. When the two factions work it out, they will come out with a comprehensive bill and a plan that represents both the dissenting members of Congress and the president, and hopefully, you.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.