No break for lawmakers

The people of the United States can very easily be compared to worker ants; when the hill is disrupted, each individual works fervently to repair the damage, sacrificing personal gains for the greater good. In the wake of a similar attack on everyday life, American workers across the country are working themselves into the ground to get things back on track. All workers, that is, except for those who happen to be members of Congress.

Recent talk in Washington and elsewhere has proposed that Congress deal with the most pertinent issues, national security and stimulation of the economy, and adjourn for the year as soon as late October, putting social issues off for a later date. But with all the nation has to deal with, this is a most irresponsible action.

All Americans are putting in extra hours – from relief workers to swamped airline employees and city leaders who are doubling their time on the clock. This is no time for America’s law-making body to take a break, particularly because the social issues labeled as less pertinent could threaten millions of Americans’ financial security. A $170 billion farm bill designed to increase subsidies for grain, cotton and soybean farmers, the welfare bill that is set to expire in July 2002, a prescription drug plan and a patient’s bill of rights are all issues that would be cut from Congress’ agenda. While economic stimulation is essential, it is clear that the neglect of these issues could easily cripple it in the near future.

The responsibilities of Congress cannot be taken lightly. The position is highly stressful and carries very serious responsibilities. Members of Congress cannot simply take time off when it looks as though the agenda is full. The fate of the nation depends on their actions, and the country’s welfare is much more important than the personal comfort of individuals. Regardless of their power or status, they remain our elected public servants.

Failure to address these issues will result in the collapse of the programs; the procrastination of Congress will place an economic burden on the already struggling states. A flood of new legislation from the attacks should not be a message to Congress that they can take it easy; it should instead be a call to greater action.

Staying until all legislation is taken care of is not optional; it must be done. These men and women were voted into office to do a job, and they cannot quit until it is finished. Dealing with key social legislation could prove to be equally as important to the economy in the long run as the impending stimulus program.