No one can say my woman in congress, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2), isn’t attentive to her constituents. She sends out a regular email newsletter, Ann’s Weekly Roundup, for those who care enough to sign up. This week Rep. Wagner was at pains to disabuse us of any suspicion that she and her GOP colleagues in the House have anything to do with that “do-nothing” congress we’ve heard about:
The American people want solutions. I have defined myself through my own actions as someone who gets the job done. Since being sworn-in to be your representative – I have passed four bills, in bipartisan fashion, out of the House of Representatives, which is a major accomplishment.
There is a lot of talk about this do-nothing Congress, but that catch phrase doesn’t ring true with my solutions. To learn more about my bills, and the 350 other pieces of legislation that are stuck in Senator Harry Reid’s do-nothing senate, please click here.
Let’s take Rep. Wagner’s legislative achievements first. Out of the ten bills she introduced during 2013-14, her most prominent achievements have been efforts to rename post offices, four of them to be exact, in her district. Then there’s the Webster University Centennial commemoration. Of course, all congressmen and women have to make these symbolic gestures to the folks back home and spending time on such trivial pursuits is a universal part of political life. Nobody whould ever hold them against Wagner as long as she manages to effectively represent our interests otherwise.
It’s this last point that makes it so dispiriting when one takes a close look at the “solutions” Rep. Wagner thinks the American people want when she goes about getting the “job done.” Notice she doesn’t tell us in her newsletter just what jobs it was she personally took on. Best I can tell, the lions share of her serious work in congress is shilling for financial and other big corporate interests.
Consider three of the remaining bills Wagner introduced. As we noted in an earlier post, HR 2374 is a shameless effort to return financial regulation to the pre-2008 days that resulted in the Bush recession; it aspired to weaken Dodd-Frank “in such a way that it curtails the ability of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Labor (DOL) to make rules that protect investors.” Her HR1626 is aimed at reducing financial transparency requirements, seeking to amend “the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to prohibit the Securities and Exchange Commission from requiring the disclosure by an issuer of any political expenditure.” Then there’s HR5300 which would weaken the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate coal-fired electricity generation.
On one hand, you could conclude that these kinds of corporate favors masquerading as responsible lawmaking make “do-nothing” seem kind of nice in comparison. On the other hand, though, since Wagner has known from the get go that these bills would never make it alive out of the Senate, they smack of “do-nothing” in the waste of time sense of the word. If she really wanted to get a worthwhile “job done,” instead of pandering to the moneyed interests she tries so hard to represent, she might have gotten her hands dirty and worked on some of the urgent problems the nation faces, helping craft the knd of compromise that might have had a chance of success. She could have used her leadership position to bring some of the crazies around to a more reasonable frame of mind rather than capitulating totally to the GOP looney-tunes wing, which, when one reviews Wagner’s votes and public statements, seems to be the course she chose. From the costly (to tax-payers) government shut-down to the Ryan Budget, Ann was there, doing her part.
Almost all the House bills that Wagner alludes to when she talks about “350 other pieces of legislation that are stuck in Senator Harry Reid’s do-nothing senate,” represent just this type of time-wasting posturing. If you click on the link that Wagner provided, you’ll see efforts to repeal Obamacare, to weaken Obamacare, to destroy governmental regulatory power, and numerous other flagrant big business giveaways. There’s also HCR 96, Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity Budget, that attempts to privatize and weaken Social Security and Medicare. Bet Wagner et al. are really proud of that – and I’m not being sarcastic.
After looking at this list of stalled GOP legislation, I can only thank God for Harry Reid. I also think it demonstrates that the “do-nothing” label belongs squarely on the shoulders of the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives, which now includes Rep. Wagner herself. Only fools and charlatans would pretend that any of these bills were realistic efforts to govern in a divided Washington. They serve only to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Wagner and her GOP pals have done little or nothing during their time in Washington besides pander to a base that has the sanest GOPers panicked and the craziest all adrenalized and raring to go. Wagner needs to wake up and realize that it’s a little late to try to escape the taint she’s acquired by her enthusiastic participation in the obstructionism and pandering that has characteried the GOP-dominated House.