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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/10/21

How to fix the Congress of the United States of America

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In my first article about Congress, I gave background and history. Since I have established that in other writings, I'm just going to name off issues, and how to fix them. I know, dry read, but with this much info, it's that or write a full book.

Streamline the bill-writing process to save time and reduce mistakes. Ban all earmarks/pork barrel spending. If it doesn't have anything to do with the point of the bill proposed, it doesn't belong there.

Also, remove the "vote-o-rama" that is used. It's nothing more than a partisan, "got ya", delaying tactic. It has no legitimate purpose. Congress, will squabble like children, and care more about getting their agenda passed and making the other side look bad than writing a bill for the people. Adding extraneous and meaningless drivel delays everything. It's an "open mic night." Any Senator can offer any amendment on any topic. Usually having 0 to do with the actual bill.

It's not even about making law. Even if the Senate passes an amendment 100-0, it carries no legal weight. It is a non-binding "resolution" and cannot be vetoed or signed into law. It's a complete waste of time and does nothing to move us forward. A disservice to the people.

It's more about politics. Both parties try to force politically-tough or embarrassing votes, setting up future campaign attacks. It's speed dating for opposition researchers. Has nothing to do with helping the nation or the people. It has grown more political over time. Senators have been introducing more amendments and fighting fewer each year. These trends reflect more efforts to score points on wedge issues, fewer principled-but-pointless stands and fewer regular order chances to vote on actual bills. More about power than people.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) described the hectic session as "god-awful" and dilatory. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said a vote-a-rama allows senators to force votes, something they aren't normally able to do, but added that it was also "stupid." Why endure upwards of 12 hours of legislative abuse? Power. A whole "got-ya" game played by congress. It is a waste of time and tax payer money. A great middle finger to the people saying "our childish power games are more important than you or this nation".

Ban ALL lobbyists. Congress is there to do our bidding. Not the lobby. Not CEOs, corporations, special interest groups" We all know lobbyists get their control by quid pro quo. A bribe of some fashion. Seeing as that is bribing a government official, prosecute them and throw them in prison for disrupting out constitutional process. Any lawmaker found to have accepted said bribe (any bribe), they are thrown in prison, are replaced by the person they defeated in the last election (a little incentive to keep on the right path).

Easy access to a list of agencies/programs that have expired and need Congressional attention. The people need to know what is going on and when to put pressure on congress (as if they actually listen).

Congressional pay needs brought into reality, so they can understand what their policies put us through. (Of course the 27th Amendment would need repealed, but...). For the house, their salary is the median salary of the district they represent. For the senate, the median salary of the state. If it goes down, so does theirs. When it goes up, they are allowed to give themselves a raise, however, if it goes back down" They no longer have access to free medical care. They have to use what we all use. No exceptions. Other than what is prescribed in the constitution, they are subject to exact same laws and penalties as the rest of us. Also, all monetary accounts (banks, IRA, Savings, Stock) is frozen (as in no interest gained, they cannot add or remove from it) during their term in Congress.

There are too many rich people are in congress. About one percent of all Americans are millionaires, but most of those serving in Congress are. There's a major problem when the people creating tax and economic policy fail to understand the financial stress every American faces. Once they leave Congress, no stipend, no "Gold Plated" benefits. They are brought back down to our level in every way, and have to live under the laws they created.

Members of Congress sometimes reveal a dangerous degree of ignorance/incompetence on vitally important issues they have considerable power to regulate. They either learn about the issue, or sit it out. One thing is, in order to serve, you must pass a civics test. A citizenship test. Something showing you know how it's supposed to work. As for everything else, make it easier to recall legislators. Many if not all members of Congress are grossly incompetent to hold office. They are primarily interested in the pursuit of money and power, rather than representing the people.

Require Members to undergo emergency preparedness training to ensure they are fully prepared in the event of an emergency. Given what happened Jan. 6th 2021, it might be a good idea.

Increase opportunities for constituents to communicate with their Representatives. The more they hear from the people they represent, they more they might do what we want. Increase accountability and tracking for all Member-sponsored communications. Allow for faster correspondence between Representatives and their constituents. In this age with this technology, it's possible.

They are supposed to be there to do our bidding, right? Right? Professors Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University) looked at more than 20 years' worth of data to answer a simple question: Does the government represent us?

Their study gathered data from nearly 2000 public opinion surveys and compared it to the policies that ended up. In other words, they compared what the public wanted to what the government did. What they found was the opinions of 90% of Americans have essentially no impact at all. None. Our "representatives" don't care about you or what you want.

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Franz has been studying political science for almost 30 years and is very passionate about his nation. He bends no knee to party or personality (which means he infuriates both sides of the aisle). He is blunt, to the point, and will call out (more...)

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