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Burnout A Problem In Congress

February 19, 2012
Mike Myer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Maybe it's because U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and U.S. Rep. David McKinley are new in Washington. Perhaps they're not just politically savvy enough to understand opponents in elections to come will use their votes last week against them.

Or perhaps it's just that they're typical of so many West Virginia natives, born and raised with a combination of common sense and stubbornness.

Clearly, the fact they agreed last week has nothing to do with party affiliations. Manchin is a Democrat, McKinley a Republican. Both are freshmen in Congress, from the Mountain State.

Both Houses of Congress approved legislation Friday that, among other things, extends the 2 percent payroll tax cut for the remainder of the year. It happened without drama - because of the political consequences of voting against it.

Nearly all Democrats voted in favor, as did many Republicans.

Again, McKinley and Manchin said no.

Both made their reasoning clear: The bill will take about $89 billion away from the Social Security system, which already is in jeopardy of insolvency in the not-too-distant future. And, contrary to what President Barack Obama claims, the tax break won't stimulate the economy.

Manchin and McKinley did the right thing. Why didn't most of their peers?

On Manchin's side, nearly all Democrats backed the bill simply because Obama, their party's president, wanted it. Never mind the effect on the folks at home, especially the elderly and those nearing retirement.

On McKinley's side, it's more complicated - but still not acceptable. Many Republicans voted in favor of the measure because they're afraid of being accused of voting against a tax break - and, frankly, don't think voters are intelligent enough to understand their reasoning. Plus, many of them are just tired of arguing with Obama.

This isn't good. What it boils down to is that many lawmakers, of both parties, are burned out after years of working in Washington. The ideals many of them took to Capitol Hill no longer sustain them - or defend their constituents.

Remember that when McKinley and Manchin are accused of doing the wrong thing.

They didn't. And I think their fellow West Virginians realize that.

Myer can be reached at: Myer@news-register.net.

 
 

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