THE BLOG
03/04/2014 01:21 pm ET | Updated May 04, 2014

Congress Does Not Get Why They Are So Unpopular

According to a new Gallup poll, congress' approval rating is down to five percent. And what are they doing or proposing to help them climb out of this hole? Absolutely nothing.

That's right. The GOP leaders in the House of Representatives met before they went on another vacation break last month and decided the best way to win the mid-term elections is to lay low, not to take any controversial votes, to essentially continue their obstructionist ways without rocking the boat by not shutting down the government or causing us to default on own loans. That's right. No more governing from crisis to crisis. What are we going to do for entertainment now?

What can you expect from a party whose Speaker stated he wanted to be judged by not how many laws he passes but by how many he repeals? Well, he's losing on both of those fronts. Last year's congress was the least productive in history.

And the year began so promising with a budget passed after five years that was supposed to be a compromise from both sides. Never mind that long term unemployed Americans are left out in the cold. And then they passed a debt ceiling increase so we can pay the bills we have already incurred.

Are we supposed to do cartwheels because Congress finally did what they were hired to do in the first place? Pass a budget and pay our debts. Isn't that their job?

As for any bold initiatives like immigration reform, raising the minimum wage,
ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), background checks for gun purchases, a jobs bill that promotes infrastructure, climate change actions or a raise in veterans' pensions. Well, forget it. Congress has no shame. The GOP has taken their marbles and headed home.

The Republicans truly are the party of defense. If this were a football game, they would be constantly playing defense, blocking the President at every turn.

And although the GOP accuse Obama of being a dictator, I salute the President for taking executive actions. At least, he is doing something to try to improve the economy and create jobs and fight climate change. And his approval rating shows this. While low since taking a hit on the rollout of the Obamacare website, his favorable is up to 46 percentafter being 39 percent. Still not great but a hell of a lot better than five percent.

The Democrats are not blameless for Congress' poor image with the public. They have thrown up the white flag and determined they can't do much this election year, blaming the GOP. They should be much more assertive on offense and support the President and Obamacare regardless of the approaching midterms. They need to govern on their principles. A lot of Americans want health care reform.

Most Americans don't want timid legislators. They want law makers to do their job of making laws. There has got to be something they can compromise on. It seems each side is controlled by the most radical wings of their base, especially the GOP. But even the Tea Party doesn't want congress to do nothing. They want their elected officials to push their agenda of lower taxes and cutting spending.

The Democrats would be willing to compromise on tax and entitlement reform and school choice but the Republican House will not bring these issues up because it would mean they themselves would have to compromise on the minimum wage and immigration reform.

The one thing both parties have seemed to forgotten is the will of the American people. Polls show most support raising the minimum wage, extending long term unemployment, not cutting food stamps, expanding background checks for gun purchases, giving gays protective rights regarding employment and creating jobs which both parties have failed on.

Oh, I beg your pardon. There is a murmur of action in the House of Representatives. A GOP leader, Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis) has proposed a budget that will recommend sweeping overhaul of social programs including Headstart, Medicaid and welfare. Exactly what we need, more cuts for the poor. As it is, those on minimum wage cannot feed their families with two jobs. Their food stamps have already been cut as well as unemployment insurance. And besides, didn't we reform welfare under President Clinton?

Rep. Ryan wants to revamp the system by creating more upward mobility. How, is my question? He and the Republicans have blocked every job initiative President Obama has proposed since taking office.

All this while the wealthy one percent among us have been flourishing since the recession of 2008. Apparently the trickle down recovery has not reached the working poor yet. The GOP said the "War on Poverty" begun in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson has failed so instead they have begun a War on the Poor.

Why not a war on corporate welfare instead? I believe Rep. Ryan's initiative is dead in the water because the Democrats and President Obama will never go along with it. Sometimes, obstructionism is good.

But I hate to think what may happen if the GOP take over the Senate in 2014. The economy may still recover but it will take much longer to come back because there will be unending nothingness happening and the working poor will suffer even further.

I forgot to mention another shocker from this past Sunday. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill), stopping short of expressing military action, said the House Republicans would cooperate with the administration in condemning the Russian intervention in the Ukraine by supporting the President's response of wanting to send aid and admit the Ukraine into NATO. So maybe a leader has woken up and united our nation, and his name is Vladimir Putin.

I'm just hoping the American people are smart enough to see through these timid, obstructionist tactics of the GOP in expecting attack ads by the Koch Brothers against Democrats for Obamacare to work while they run out the clock until November 2014 not presenting any initiatives of their own. It may backfire for them in the primaries, for one thing the Tea Party does well is not sit and wait for things to turn their way. They take action. See, there is something President Obama and the Tea Party have in common. I say bring on the mid-terms. It's time to clean House.