Our impotent Congress is a disgrace

By Arlene Violet, Esq.
Posted 10/3/23

By now you know whether the Republican House got its act together and continued the funding to run the government. To think that these do-nothings continue to receive a whopping salary while our …

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Our impotent Congress is a disgrace


By now you know whether the Republican House got its act together and continued the funding to run the government. To think that these do-nothings continue to receive a whopping salary while our service men and women who put their lives on the line and receive peanuts were on the hook for not being paid is infuriating.

Stiffing federal workers was also abominable. The many communities across this country who are sites for the national parks and museums are potentially hit with significant losses with the loss of tourism. Seven million women and children could lose access to food through the WIC program.

The solons on Capitol Hill in effect have told them “Eat cake” as these “leaders” jawboned and postured for the media.

Of course, there is one reason why the government was facing a shut-down, i.e. the gutless Majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, is petrified of his dysfunctional members who are holding the government hostage. He fits the very stereotype of a politician, i.e. a person who thinks only of  keeping his power and the public be damned. Self  trumps service.

He and his far right minions are not the only disgrace on Capitol Hill. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was indicted again for corruption. The charges this time include bribery, in exchange for billions of dollars in financial assistance for the government in Egypt. He serves as the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a position which is totally jeopardized by this indictment. He had to be wrestled down before agreeing to TEMPORARILY step down from his chairmanship. As expected, he played the Latino card, stating that he was being prosecuted because of his nationality.

Not to be outdone, in his political back pocket was Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who stated that “ Bob Menendez has been a dedicated public servant and is always fighting hard for the people of New Jersey.” As one of my frequent talk show guests use to say, “That is enough to gag a maggot”!

Mr. Schumer had no such tendencies to pontificate about waiting for the outcome of a fair trial when Republicans like Donald Trump got into legal trouble and even when democrat, then Sen. Al Franken, got into a mess over sexual misconduct allegations. Mr. Schumer called for Franken’s resignation. As of this writing, Rhode Island’s two senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, have lockjaw.

At the heart of this analysis as to whether Mr. Menendez should resign is the core question as to whether the standards for a U.S. Senator should be higher than merely not having a criminal conviction. Certainly, he contributes to the cynicism about politics. Worst of all, he has resorted to the old bromide that the prosecution is “political,” apparently ripping a page from the Donald Trump playbook.

Ironically, the indictment of Menendez, if anything, proves just the opposite of the “politics” of the justice department, since he is a high-ranking democrat. Attorney General Merrick Garland can point to this indictment in order to claim neutrality on politics when indictments are handed down.

Washington is awash with unsavory people serving in office. Mr. Menendez, like Rep. George Santos (R-NY), sucks up taxpayers’ dollars for months on end until the cases are resolved. Yes, regrettably, “self trumps service.”

Arlene Violet is an attorney and former Rhode Island Attorney General.

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