Everyone talks about how Congress can't accomplish anything anymore. It's become a punchline, for goodness' sake. You might like the one about Congress not fixing over 1,000 holes in the roof of the Capitol building. Wait, that's not a joke at all. That's real life.
The New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer reports years of bad weather have put over 1,300 cracks in the building's famous domed roof, and while the Senate Appropriations committee approved the repairs, Congress is being a stick in the mud:
Like most of what the federal government is on the hook to fix — highways, bridges and airports — the dome is imperiled both by tough economic times and by a politically polarized Congress. While Senate appropriators have voted to repair the dome, which has not undergone major renovations for 50 years, their House counterparts say there is not money right now. In that way, the dome is a metaphor for the nation’s decaying infrastructure.
The repairs to fix the dome would only cost $61 million, but the Republican-controlled Congress is trying not to spend what little they have in their reduced appropriations budget. They're going to have to pass a short-term spending bill -- the same thing they used to fix the debt ceiling -- and it's probably not going to include money to fix the roof.
Charles E. Schumer, the leader of the Senate Rules Committee, doesn't see the humor in Congress not being able to fix their own roof. "There is a time and place to debate spending levels and the proper role of the federal government, but when your house has a leaky roof, you pay to fix the roof."
For once, it's the Democrats yelling at the Republicans to stop the leaks.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.