Last Friday, comedian Stephen Colbert testified at the behest of Democrat Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren as an expert witness before a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on immigration. What should have been a serious hearing on an important subject affecting millions of Americans predictably devolved into a stand-up comedy act from a fictitious character that Colbert portrays on his talk show.
While I have no qualms with Mr. Colbert’s right to express his opinion and certainly respect the Majority’s right to invite whom it pleases to testify before the committee, one has to wonder what this says about the leadership capability of House Democrats. Inviting a comedian to appear before a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives to poke fun at an issue as divisive and explosive as immigration is emblematic of what a joke Washington has become in the view of many Americans. The juxtaposition of his comedy act against the backdrop of a historic Congressional hearing room provided a metaphor for the low ratings Congress suffers today because of its arrogance and incompetency. As Congress readies to recess for the term with mounds of unfinished business, Americans are not looking for a comedy show from their government; they want leadership.
In 1974, Congress passed the Budget Act which codified the process by which the annual budget is created. Since then, one of the most fundamental and crucial responsibilities of Congress has been to pass a yearly budget, laying a blueprint from which funds will be appropriated by our government. In the 35 years since these rules were put into place, the House has never failed to pass an annual budget — that is, until now. Even in the face of intense public opposition, Democrats have unapologetically abdicated this responsibility and plan to leave Washington for the term without passing a budget resolution.
What’s more, in just a few short months, the Obama tax-hike time bomb will explode, resulting in the largest single tax increase in U.S. history. While Americans continue to weather the worst recession since the Great Depression, our government, by its inaction, plans to raise taxes by $3.9 trillion dollars. From the blue collar worker trying to make ends meet to small businesses trying to keep their doors open, Americans will feel the pain come January.
Finally, we have a stubbornly high unemployment rate due to economic uncertainties created by uncontrolled debt, taxation, spending, excess regulation, and a monstrosity of a government takeover of our health care system.
With figurative Rome burning and a comedy act firmly in the can, the Democrat leadership will likely release Congress this week so many of their Members can return to their districts to campaign against the very laws and agendas they have facilitated throughout the 111th Congress. Thus begins the official start of campaign season to revive feeble Democrat political careers instead of fixing America.
The American people crave serious, competent leadership in Washington, and they are not getting it from the current liberal Majority. As unemployment lingers near 10% and our national debt sits at over $13 trillion, Americans are screaming for serious change. I think Mr. Colbert is a very talented comedian, but sadly the real joke in Washington today is just how laughably out of touch the Democrats have become.
John Fleming is a family physician and small business owner. He represents the 4th Congressional District of Louisiana and is a member of the House Armed Services and Natural Resources Committees.