Opinion: Bill extensions becoming the norm for this Congress


I had to laugh a little, sadly, last week when I read that Congress couldn’t get a farm bill passed. Instead of the usual five-year farm bill, Congress had to squeak out a nine-month extension.

Welcome to our world, farmer friends. And take note of this weary warning from your construction brethren:

Congress has been piddling about with nine consecutive extensions of  the transportation bill since 2005. Some of these extensions were as short as three months. The latest bill, MAP-21, is considered a transportation bill, but in fact covers less than two years of funding, compared to the six-year bills that were the norm when actual adults ruled Washington D.C.

A bill to fund the FAA for airport construction has been extended more than 20 times, with FAA employees and construction contractors not knowing from day to day whether they’d have a job.

Congress blows gas enough to warm three planets when they’re talking about how many bullets you can buy and how much soda you can drink. But food, transportation? That can wait. What’s next, clothing and shelter?

(My bad, turns out Congress has already screwed up the shelter business. Thank goodness we have Asian sweatshops making all our clothes.)

This begs the question: why even have a government if the government repeatedly shows it can not do the things it should? These aren’t hard things to do; tough decisions, agonizing moral questions. This isn’t Ike sending the National Guard to Little Rock, Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Nixon battling Watergate.

It’s transportation and agriculture — the simple basic functions undertaken by all governments since Roman times.

And ours can’t do them.