Opinion

What we need from Congress

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A recent Exponent Telegram online poll asked readers what they thought would be the most pressing issue of 2015. They could have chosen terrorism or energy independence or the economy, but instead, the overwhelming majority of respondents said they consider government gridlock to be the most pressing issue.

A new Congress returns tomorrow, and the onus will be on the Republicans, who will control both the House and Senate. Can they govern? Can they compromise with the president? Can this Congress produce meaningful legislation?

What we don’t need are political posturing, political theater and, yes, more gridlock.

We have a very narrow window of opportunity here. We have a lame-duck president who can defy the more liberal members of his party and seek compromises with GOP leaders on tax reform, roads and bridges and foreign trade.

Or we could see a string of bills being passed that seek to overturn laws and executive orders that will be met with a presidential veto.

Lawmakers read polls, and they know that their approval rating is lower than a gopher hole. They also know the last Congress was the least productive in generations. The last Congress passed fewer bills than Harry Truman’s do-nothing Congress in 1947 and ‘48.

The new Congress needs to avoid the showdowns that have paralyzed Capitol Hill, and it should strive to give Americans some hope that it can actually do something constructive…

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