Politics swallowing up the task of governing

We touched on this with the bill prohibiting sex-selection abortion, but here it is again, reported in a matter-of-fact way:

Democrats will bring to the Senate floor on Tuesday the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that is supposed to help close the wage gap between men and women.

The measure will fail, as intended, because at its core it is not so much a legislative vehicle as a political one intended to embarrass Republicans and help President Obama and congressional Democrats with female voters in November.

Democrats are making an obvious connection between the two as the ‘war on women’ loses traction as an election issue.

The bill, which needs 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles, faces almost certain defeat because most Republicans plan to vote against it. But Obama and Senate Democrats are hoping those votes will give them the opportunity to paint congressional Republicans as hostile to women’s interests.

The strategy is part of an increasingly common practice in Congress of moving legislation aimed solely at producing political results. For House Republicans, the strategy means votes to roll back parts of the Obama 2010 health-care reform bill or votes to highlight rising gasoline prices.

In the Senate, Democrats believe a sustained focus on women’s issues should help them maintain a slim majority after the November elections.

via Paycheck Fairness Act expected to fail – The Washington Post.

“The measure will fail as intended”!  The purpose of the legislation is just to score political points by embarrassing those who vote against it.   Of course, bills before the legislature often have a political sub-text.  But here Congress isn’t even trying to govern.  The members are only trying to get re-elected with seemingly no thought of the constitutional purpose of their institution; namely, to govern the country.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • formerly just steve

    I would agree with almost everything written here except that the vote to repeal parts of Obamascare falls within the same practice. It may be political for some–and maybe I’m naive for not thinking it’s completely political–but I do still believe there are members of Congress who truly feel this is a bad law and needs to be repealed, however few they may be.

  • formerly just steve

    I would agree with almost everything written here except that the vote to repeal parts of Obamascare falls within the same practice. It may be political for some–and maybe I’m naive for not thinking it’s completely political–but I do still believe there are members of Congress who truly feel this is a bad law and needs to be repealed, however few they may be.

  • WebMonk

    Hardly the first time this has happened and it will be far from the last.

    fjs – I suspect there are some members of Congress who serious feel the equal-pay law is a necessary good bill to be passed too. They might be few, but I’m sure they’re there.

  • WebMonk

    Hardly the first time this has happened and it will be far from the last.

    fjs – I suspect there are some members of Congress who serious feel the equal-pay law is a necessary good bill to be passed too. They might be few, but I’m sure they’re there.

  • EricM

    The equal pay law (as I understand it) shifts the burden of proof from the government to the accused company. The company will have to show proof that any unequal pay is based on experience or qualifications. This kind of law will do nothing but reduce opportunity as companies will level the playing field by moving to the lowest common denominator. This is a bad idea and should be voted down.

  • EricM

    The equal pay law (as I understand it) shifts the burden of proof from the government to the accused company. The company will have to show proof that any unequal pay is based on experience or qualifications. This kind of law will do nothing but reduce opportunity as companies will level the playing field by moving to the lowest common denominator. This is a bad idea and should be voted down.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Can we call for a vote of no confidence against Congress? I am pretty tired of the grandstand politics – Republican or Democrat.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Can we call for a vote of no confidence against Congress? I am pretty tired of the grandstand politics – Republican or Democrat.

  • DonS

    Congress never governs during an election year. I don’t have a problem with this kind of thing, insofar as it serves to inform those voters who care what the priorities of each political party are, prior to the election. So, with all of the pressing budgetary problems of the day, and the overwhelming evidence that the federal government is too big, too stupid, and indebting our kids to an unimaginable level, Democrats think it is very important to introduce legislation to install a further huge bureaucratic regulatory scheme to allegedly ensure “paycheck fairness”. This is more important, apparently, than trying to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to work and earn paychecks at all!

    This is very useful information for a discerning voter.

  • DonS

    Congress never governs during an election year. I don’t have a problem with this kind of thing, insofar as it serves to inform those voters who care what the priorities of each political party are, prior to the election. So, with all of the pressing budgetary problems of the day, and the overwhelming evidence that the federal government is too big, too stupid, and indebting our kids to an unimaginable level, Democrats think it is very important to introduce legislation to install a further huge bureaucratic regulatory scheme to allegedly ensure “paycheck fairness”. This is more important, apparently, than trying to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to work and earn paychecks at all!

    This is very useful information for a discerning voter.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I understand Veith’s reaction to such legislation — it’s petty and it wastes time — and yet, there’s a cynical part of me that, along with not a few conservatives, thinks that the more time Congress spends not trying to pass laws, the better.

    Don’t conservatives (of the old-school variety, not present-day Republicans) usually complain about Congress being too busy writing laws?

    Which doesn’t change the fact that this is all so very petty.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I understand Veith’s reaction to such legislation — it’s petty and it wastes time — and yet, there’s a cynical part of me that, along with not a few conservatives, thinks that the more time Congress spends not trying to pass laws, the better.

    Don’t conservatives (of the old-school variety, not present-day Republicans) usually complain about Congress being too busy writing laws?

    Which doesn’t change the fact that this is all so very petty.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DLit2C (@4): you know what the solution is, don’t you?
    Everyone hates “Congress”, but most people actually like their representative and senators, which is why they keep getting re-elected. See the disconnect? Your local representative and senators are Congress. Make a commitment not to vote for them this November.

    Of course, most people I’ve heard complaining about Congress aren’t as interested in voting against their own elected officials. Maybe you are.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DLit2C (@4): you know what the solution is, don’t you?
    Everyone hates “Congress”, but most people actually like their representative and senators, which is why they keep getting re-elected. See the disconnect? Your local representative and senators are Congress. Make a commitment not to vote for them this November.

    Of course, most people I’ve heard complaining about Congress aren’t as interested in voting against their own elected officials. Maybe you are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Politics is often the business of violating the 8th commandment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Politics is often the business of violating the 8th commandment.


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