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Published: Wednesday, 2/20/2013

No-work Congress

Congress, led by the Senate, appears to seek a new level of irresponsibility. It is taking a recess while the $1 trillion-plus sequestration of government money is scheduled to take effect next week.

“Recess” means vacation, back in the home district, grubbing for campaign money, for most of America’s 535 intrepid lawmakers. Congress returns to work in Washington on Monday, four days before the budget cuts are scheduled to kick in.

Lawmakers passed and President Obama signed the sequestration measure with the argument that the across-the-board spending cuts it requires are so drastic and so unreasoning in the way they affect civilian and military services that the White House and Congress would have to reach a better agreement to forestall the ax falling. That logic underestimated the folly and partisan recalcitrance of the parties involved.

As usual, Americans get to pay the price of Washington’s inability to reach consensus on the nation’s problems — in this case, legitimate needs for services and the requirement to pay for them while managing the nation’s rising debt. The fact that Congress is taking a recess rather than addressing the spending-revenue issue is almost unbelievable.

Taxpayers will bear the burden for lawmakers’ irresponsibility. How long are they going to act like this?

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