Given President Obama’s abdication in presenting select priorities to the Congress, Selfish Citizenship took the initiative to spell out the top seven legislative priorities for 2013 at the beginning of the year.
Congress has utterly failed in its oversight of the executive branch. Yes Rep. Darrell Issa, I am pointing at you too.
Often this is because of partisan blindness to the maladministration of a President from the majority’s party.
However, to a substantial degree, legislators have been co-opted into becoming blind cheerleaders for the federal programs they are charged with overseeing. This is not a particularly new phenomenon; see discussions of the Iron Triangle in Hedrick Smith’s The Power Game.
The result is failed programs that do not get eliminated.
Perhaps, Senators with presidential ambitions should take note of the role legislative oversight played in the political rise of Truman and LBJ.
As I noted, in Top 4 Lessons from Election Day 2012:
Second terms are notoriously harmful to the reputation and legacy of our presidents as past malfeasance in office is pushed beyond the election and comes back to harm presidents who evaded the consequences of bad actions within their Administration. By electing a House from the party in opposition to the President, the American electorate is inviting aggressive oversight and investigation into executive branch abuses of power; however, a Senate controlled by the President’s party is a direction from the electorate to not pursue impeachment.
In summary of the seven legislative priorities, Congress needs to take the lead in fixing the problems created by prior Congresses. All of these man-made problems were the predictable consequence of choices made in the Congress. Now is the time for Congress to choose differently and these seven New Year’s Resolutions for Congress are a solid start.
Links to all the priorities that Congress should set: