First of all, it is important to remember that the word “Congress” refers to both the House and the Senate, and I find it constantly lamentable that “Congress” is used to refer only to the House of Representatives. Oh, well, modern language is lamentable in so many ways.
Then let’s make a list of all the political toxicities that are being inflicted on our country just now (and these are not necessarily in order of importance, since importance keeps changing):
Forty (make that 42) votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the House alone, even though both houses of Congress approved this legislation, and it has been upheld by the Supreme Court, a dubious entity nowadays but nevertheless they have spoken on this. The ACA is designed to provide insurance to as many as 30,000,000 uninsured Americans; it is by no means perfect but probably could be improved if only Congress would do so.
The recurrent threat to shut down our government in order to achieve whatever the current hostage is – previously it was the debt ceiling, now it’s the ACA, next it may be the debt ceiling again.
And during those 42 votes, here’s what the Congress was not working on:
the sequester, which possibly led to cuts in Naval budgets that reduced security at the DC Naval Yard, thus helping to enable another mass murder episode;
which leads us to gun safety legislation, which Congress (both houses, remember) will not act on because the gun manufacturers have too many members in their pockets, even though 30,000 Americans are killed or injured every year in gun-related events;
the debt ceiling threat, in which the Congress appears to be determined to undermine world economy, again, as well as our US economy, in order to extort defunding of the ACA.
Meanwhile we have an immigration problem which could be addressed by a reasonable policy, which has been proposed but not voted on. We have a deteriorating infrastructure, including bridges that those same members of Congress and their families must surely use at times, but which they will not address. We need the proposed American Jobs Act put into play, we need monstrous disparity between the very wealthy and the very poor balanced with comprehensive tax reform, and we need immediate attention to an absurdly low minimum wage, but no luck there.
Besides voting against the ACA 42 times to date, what the House has also done is vote to drastically reduce food stamp benefits, as if more hungry children would solve any problem.