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Congressman Gerry Connolly: Congress is 'Dysfunctional'

The March 1 deadline for sequestration passed, and another deadline could come and go March 27.

Northern Virginia Congressmen Gerry Connolly (D-11th) called Congress "dysfunctional," as the midnight deadline on sequestration steadily approached. 

"It's a dysfunctional Congress," agreed Jim Moran (D-8th), who spoke with Patch at a ribbon-cutting Friday in Lorton. "I think it ill-serves the people of the United States today. It's very frustrating, very disappointing. It's an institution that is not serving its functions." 

Connolly didn't expect a last-minute compromise on $1.2 trillion in debt reduction, and he was right.

The U.S. military will be forced to cut $46 billion and domestic defense spending will be cut by $85 billion this year alone, he said.

"It is the consequence of a dysfunctional Congress," he said. "It's the consequence of ideological dynamics that have trumped common sense, compromise and cooperation."

Next week, the Republican-led House is expected to pass the Defense and Military Construction appropriations bills at the level they were passed for the last two years: $71.7 billion. 

"In other words, you're increasing defense at the expense of the non-defense discretionary programs," Moran said, "but the majority of House Republicans will pass it and send it to the Democratic Senate; the Senate will either agree with that strategy, or, if they don't accept it we'll come to another government shutdown on March 27. If they do accept it it will go to the White House Office of Management and Budget to make the cuts.

"Basically, the strategy is to leave it to the Democrats or the White House to make the cuts," Moran said. "The Republicans will pass the bills at the pre-sequester level so that they are not held accountable for the cuts. So, that's the plan. It's all a matter of a verbal accountability from the various interest groups for the cuts that are going to happen." 

Connolly hopes Congress will reach a compromise March 27, when it faces a resolution to fund the federal government.  

"That will give us another opportunity, hopefully, to come to some sort of reasonable compromise that will address some of the worst aspects of sequestration," Connolly said. "There is a theory that maybe sequestration kicks in for a few months, and once the effects are felt, that members of Congress will come together and try to fix this. I hope that's true, but I wish that weren't necessary."

Richard Tammaro March 03, 2013 at 01:53 AM
let's just spend our way to prosperity!
Kim McCoy March 03, 2013 at 04:57 AM
Congressmen Connolly and Moran, those of us who actually remember how this situation came about find your party's lack of honesty about this country's spending problem infuriating. President Obama has added $6 Trillion dollars to the National debt, your party continues to spend $1 trillion dollars more a years than we take in, all while this Democratic President has missed the budget deadline for the 4th year in a row. The last time he submitted a budget, not one person in your party voted in favor of it. Harry Reid has refused to allow a single up or down vote on any of the numerous budget bills passed out of the House for fear that Democrats might have to go on record as voting for or against anything. $85 billion in cuts to the RATE OF BUDGET INCREASES should not be cause for your party to go around trying to scare people into a panic. If your party would have made reasonable proposals to tackle our bloated federal budget with smart cuts, we wouldn't be in this place. I have a perfect solution to a starting point for getting our deficit under control. Defund everything that has to do with your party's European socialized healthcare disaster that we call Obamacare, especially since neither one of you read it or understood it before you voted to force Americans to comply with it. ...and then, maybe you could get serious about reforming our broken entitlement systems and our tax code that is so arduous Americans have to pay other people to figure out how to comply
Jim Brady March 03, 2013 at 10:52 AM
Well said Kim. GC and JM are a disgrace to VA.
David Salzberg March 03, 2013 at 11:51 AM
The real problem is the gerrymandered congressional districts that are no longer competitive. The districts are drawn in a manner to give one party the edge (53% of Americans voted for a democratic house, but the house remains republican). Worse than that, the gerrymandering results in extremism on both sides. The republicans and democrats have to worry about challenges from the extremes of the parties. Lugar lost his senate seat to a tea party member...who lost the general election. So, republicans, in particular, are afraid to be moderate and reasonable. The dems give a little, and the GOP changes so that is the new starting point. In the mean time, good hard workers are losing their jobs. People with medical issues are losing their insurance. This congressional gridlock by the GOP will kill people -- people relying of cancer research to find treatments., etc. Gerry is right, but he is part of the problem.

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