Have you heard about U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins' "Stop Government Abuse Act"?
No? Well, then, you probably don't know about the "Stop Playing on Citizen's Cash Act," either. Or the "Regulation From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act."
All were part of "Stop Government Abuse Week," a dog-and-pony show that leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives put together so that Republicans can have something to talk about during their summer recess. Unable to pass a farm bill, make progress on immigration reform or show signs of a budget breakthrough, the majority party of Congress settled again for cheap stunts aimed at embarrassing President Obama's administration and making sure citizens remain aggrieved.
Jenkins' bill, which has no prayer of passing the Senate, would allow citizens to record meetings and telephone calls with federal regulatory officials. According to a press release from the Topeka Republican's office, it would also "rein in excessive federal bonuses, allow agency heads to fire reckless employees on the spot, and stop those under investigation from receiving salaries paid for by the American people."
That's not exactly the way to get talented people to go into public service. Work for the federal government, kids, and check your legal rights at the door.
According to The Washington Post, "Stop Government Abuse Week" was weeks in the making. The House Republican Committee has even prepared a planning kit for lawmakers to use while on break. They are advised to spend their time seeking out groups "that may have experienced difficulty receiving tax-exempt status from the IRS," and meeting with "respected companies and businesses" whose executives are inclined to blame President Obama's health care reform law for workforce reductions.
Lest we forget, the House's final order of business Friday was a vote to repeal Obamacare. That would be repeal No. 40.
Are you disgusted with the lack of productive business getting done in Congress? Let's scuttle the game plan. Your representatives will be home for five weeks. Find out where they'll be appearing in public and go ask why they can't pass a farm bill. Ask why they haven't sent a single spending bill to the president. Ask when they're going to lift sequestration. Make them answer your questions, not just lapse into their faux-outrage jargon.
And then let's propose a vote on a new bill as soon as they get back to Washington. That would be called the "Grow Up and Do Your Job Act."
Barbara Shelly is a columnist for the Kansas City Star. E-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
By BARBARA SHELLY