Every American is aware of the partisan bickering in Washington. As this election year really gets underway we can only expect that to get worse. For those of us that are on Capitol Hill and meeting with staff and members, we have seen the uptick in harsh rhetoric about the "other side" and we expect it to increase. Sometimes however the “other side” has little to do with Republican vs. Democrat but more so to do with House vs. Senate. When you look at the House and Senate calendars this congressional session, this is apparent more than usual.
According to the official schedules of the House and Senate the two chambers have only been in town at the same time for 25 weeks out of this year. Many members argue that this time away from Washington is key; it allows them to meet with their constituents and see the real problems that their districts are facing. No one can argue that it is important for representatives to meet frequently with those that they actually represent, but it would seem that a coordination of the two chambers in session schedules would be conducive to getting work done. Thankfully staff members are in town and attempting to work with both opposing party member staff as well as their opposite chamber counterparts. But this lack of cohesive scheduling still creates logistical impediments to drafting and passing much needed legislation. This is only exacerbated by the aggressive party politics of our time and it is clear that as a result the work isn’t getting done. Thus far this session the meager work production proves that. At this point, in an average congressional session, twice as many bills would have been signed into law and Congress has yet to pass a single spending bill for 2012.
During these uncertain times it’s important to bring our Nation together and our elected officials should be setting an example of that. Perhaps next session leaders of both chambers and both parties can sit down with their calendars and attempt to coordinate, it will only serve to serve the people they represent all that much better.