Sunday, April 5, 2009

Can Congress Produce Answers to Real Public Policy Issues?

Instead of choosing to focus this post on a specific public policy issue, I choose to focus on national public policy in general after reading an article in the New York Times. Over the last several years through the Bush Administration the legislature did not much produce substantial legislation about important national issues. There were the bills that scratched the surface of issues such as health care, education, energy and the environment but a serious effort to address and solve the issues did not happen.
In the article “Policy Agenda Poses Test for Rusty Legislative Machinery,” it addresses the question if Congress is up to the challenge of producing legislation that will begin to address the major issues our nation is facing and that the Obama Administration is asking them to address. Before Congress was more focuses on national security and narrow majorities in divided government, but now legislators need to remember how to politic and gain support from within to pass legislation across partisan lines. In the past year, Congress could not even pass a budget on time, so now it will take a true leader to step up to the ranks in the legislature. Among the issues needing to be addresses health care reform is at the forefront and Nancy Pelosi and making sure committees and Democrats and Republicans are working together from the beginning so legislation does not just die on the floor of the legislature like the immigration bill from 2007.
I’m not sure is Congress is ready to step up to the plate and actually do their job and solve important issues for our nation. They have gotten to use to sitting back and watching the process happen and be more concerned about reelection and moving up the ranks within their own parties. Now, citizens must push their legislators to achieve greatness, but also I believe leaders need to emerge from within Congress that are not afraid of crossing partisan lines and that will stand up for the good of the whole nation and not just themselves or their constituency. Issues regarding health care reform, education, energy and the environment can not be left unanswered and I think it will be the Obama Administration who pushes and persuades Congress to begin taking serious steps at addressing these concerns with serious legislation.


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