ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Forum editorial: Gridlock can be broken

Gridlock has become synonymous with Congress. But despite the deep divisions among elements of the U.S. House and Senate, the first session of the 114th Congress (2015), to the surprise of many observers, got some good stuff done. Surely some big...

Gridlock has become synonymous with Congress. But despite the deep divisions among elements of the U.S. House and Senate, the first session of the 114th Congress (2015), to the surprise of many observers, got some good stuff done. Surely some big things were left undone, including the Republican Senate majority’s foolish obstructionism over President Barack Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Senate’s unprecedented stalling over important federal appointments. That nonsense aside, it is revealing to look at what has been accomplished. By the low-bar measure of the past few sessions, it is impressive.

  • For the first time since 1998, a multiyear highway funding bill cleared Congress. It’s a big deal for North Dakota. The state fared well in the funding formula.
  • No Child Left Behind was replaced by the Every Student Achieve Act, which repeals the Common Core mandate but not Common Core standards. States have more autonomy. It’s the first education reform since 2002.
  • Social Security disability reform shores up the disability insurance trust fund, thus ensuring benefits will be paid. It’s the first significant Social Security reform since 1983.
  • The 1970s crude oil export ban was lifted.
  • The National Defense Authorization Act raises pay to troops, funds improvements to the B-52 fleet and funds an Intelligence Targeting facility in Fargo.
  • Both houses approved the Keystone XL pipeline, but the Senate could not override a presidential veto.
  • A landmark bill to combat sex trafficking became law.
  • The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act will help states and localities fun education and prevention programs and support law enforcement – an initiative that resonates in Fargo-Moorhead as the community confronts a growing illegal drug threat.

There is more, but the above examples (with the exception of the pipeline) were passed with bipartisan majorities in Congress. Even as partisan lines harden during a presidential election year, there is common ground among senators and congressmen on important issues. It’s not enough, and bipartisanship today is no guarantee of bipartisanship tomorrow. But gridlock need not be the perennial modus operandi, and the major legislation that was passed proves it.
Editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.

What To Read Next
A couple of bills introduced quietly would help feed students in public schools
Mikkel Pates set the standard for agricultural journalism during his 44-year career in the region, working for Agweek, The Forum and the Worthington Globe.
The administration at Theodore Roosevelt National Park is bent on getting rid of the horses, which means getting rid of vital living history and a major draw to the park.
Fargo city commission hand-wringing over northside Red River crossing is short-sighted