Yesterday, the New York Times published a piece exclaiming that this year, politicians are doing everything in their power to hide the fact from their constituents that they are, in fact, politicians. Their ads have them driving their adorable cars, playing with their adorable families, taking care of their adorable pets and exulting their extremely un-adorable Lives Before Congress. This time around, re-election means running from the eternal conviction of recent Congressional politics: nothing really has gotten done in the past 730 days or so.
That isn’t true. One could argue that the Tea Party candidates who won seats never had any idea what the hell they were going to do in Washington because, in theory, the Tea Party believes Washington can’t do anything. Or that it’s all simply *gridlock* that messed everything up. But to say they got nothing done at all is a wild exaggeration of what actually happened before the 112th Congress shut its door for the campaign season this past Thursday. Have faith in your elected officials – they’re doing your work for you!
(FYI: As of September 20th, 2012, the 112th Congress had past 147 bills. The 111th passed 383 but, hey, who’s counting?).
1. The Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents was taken care of! In three separate bills, the House and Senate worked together to reappoint Shirley Ann Jackson, Robert P. Kagod and Stephen M. Case to their old jobs as trustees for the famous educational hub. They’re very nice people, too.
2. A bunch of new names! Just look at these puppies:
- (formerly) just a U.S. courthouse in Arizona -> (now) The John M. Roll Courthouse.
- (formerly) just a post office in California -> (now) The Specialist Jake Robert Velloza Post Office.
- (formerly) just a post office in Schertz, Texas -> (now) The Schertz Veterans Post Office.
There are thirty-eight more. We’re no mathematicians or anything but that’s a little more than a quarter of the total bills passed by Congress in the past two years. But go check them out yourself. They’re pretty cool names.
3. You can get skiing lessons in our beautiful National Parks now! The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 was met with bipartisan approval because the snowy slopes are neither red nor blue. Ski concessioners have been given the opportunity to “offer additional recreational services on public lands.” In other words, the government just subsidized your right to shred.
4. Finally, Congress has agreed: Belarus is still a democracy!
5. The America’s Cup is only a year away! So Congress signed off yet again on what vessels can compete in the age-old boating competition.
6. What’s scarier than drug and human traffickers hopping the fence between us and Mexico? Drug and human traffickers using underground tunnels. And Congress understands that: for this reason, the Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2012 was passed by wide margins in both chambers. The logic: less tunnels, less traffickers. Then again, Gus Fring never had to use a tunnel.
7. Looks like Minnesota’s Cook County Airport is finally getting that interest the U.S. government owes them! It has been over sixty years now…
8. Good news for the Boy Scouts! They received 150 acres of land in the Ouachita National Forest of Oklahoma. That’s more than enough room to learn how to shoot an arrow or whatever it is they’re teaching the kids these days.
Out of the 147 laws passed, the President did not veto a single one of them. Who said anything about gridlock?