President Obama’s State of the Union announcement that he will “go it alone” and bypass Congress when his favored legislation doesn’t move forward is cause for grave concern and brings into question exactly where is the gridlock in the process of legislative action.
The president should look at his own Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, as the main culprit for most of the stalemate in Congress. The process for passing bills requires collaboration between both houses. If passed by both the Senate and House, the bill goes to a conference committee composed of members from each house to work out any differences.
In the best of cases, the differences are worked out, voted upon by the entire Congress and forwarded to the president for signature or veto. Unfortunately, some bills never make it to the floor of the Senate or House because the Senate majority leader or speaker of the House controls the calendar and decides which bills will make it to the floor for debate.
To date, many of the bills President Obama attributes to being part of the stalemate never have been scheduled for debate in the Senate by Reid. More than 160 bills have been sent by the House to the Senate that Reid has refused to act upon. Many were potential solutions to stemming runaway spending, immigration reforms and modifications to our health care crisis.
So instead of bypassing Congress, President Obama should prompt Reid to stop the gridlock and allow the bills to proceed so healthy debate, compromise and cooperation can be conducted as intended.