My Irish Up: How Congress passes (sic) a law

Michael T. Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

News Columnist

Have you noticed how Congress hasn’t done anything this session? Or in the previous one, either, except for that health thing that got so watered down in 2009 that the insurance companies had to pretend they hated it?

This is completely the fault of the Republicans — or it is all to their credit, depending on your point of view. Many Republicans have pledged to never pass another law again, because, plainly, any and all government is completely useless and evil. Any true patriot can see that. Re-elected John Boehner and re-elected President Obama are making noises that sound like maybe we will avoid the Dec. 31 “fiscal cliff” — but if compromise is indeed the new Washington, why is every new Member of Congress in both parties still issued a lemming costume during orientation?

Partly because of their recent two-year working vacation, Congress has an approval rating of 9% — which just happens to be about the same percentage of Americans and agents of foreign powers who benefit from Congress not working to provide more jobs, while not raising taxes. Coincidence? Probably. I wouldn’t want to press the point too closely, lest someone in power send a drone my way, as target practice for next week’s terrorist attack on West Asia.

I thought I would investigate the easygoing attitude of Congress while I was in Washington recently, where I was lobbying on behalf of Irish-American newspaper columnists with Scottish, English and French grandparents. Here’s what I found:

Everyone is Washington is crazy. Really. Ev-er-y-one. I was there for only two days and I had to go on Thorazine, just as a precaution.

I watched as Fox News, and I use the term loosely, interviewed some people on the Capitol steps.

Tall, disheveled woman, or maybe it was a man, waving a pistol: I believe in the Constitution. Had the Founding Fathers wanted us to have a government, they might have at least said something about it, don't you think? Where is it written that there has to be government?

Man balancing a giant globe on his shoulder: I can tell you straight out (unh!) that it's the other side's fault (oof). They keep wanting to pass (oomph) laws. Fortunately, my side held firm. No new taxes for wars and (hunh) such, or for anything. No new programs for jobs, whatever they are. No nothing. Just no. FN: Good work! You are a true patriot! Yes, I am.

Bearded man: I like strawberries. Or is it apples?

Tall disheveled woman or man: It’s apples. Here, put one on your head and I’ll try to shoot it off.

How A Bill Becomes a Law: Nobody remembers how a bill becomes a law, it’s been so long since Congress passed one. Inside sources think it has something to do with committees meeting and reporting out… then something, something… with perhaps a minority report(?) to completely ignore… and at least five million dollars coming in for expenses and “overhead.” Then the chairman kills it. So the House passes along to the Senate an amended final bill, narrowed down to the closing of a post office in Iowa — though this bill traditionally gets lost in the U.S. Mail. Something along those lines has generated laws in the past, such as...

…Some Famous Laws That Former Congresses Have Somehow Passed: The Law of Diminishing Tax Returns (1982); The Law of Gravity (1804; repealed 2011); The Civil Rights Act For White Male Property-Holders (1215).

Amount Spent By the Petroleum Industry on Lobbying Last Year: Nine hundred million dollars.

Amount In New Tax Loopholes for Petroleum Industry Last Year: Nine billion dollars (includes 100% lobbying tax credit).

New “tax breaks” for people who actually work: Minus nine billion dollars.

Number of times U.S. Rep. Grafton Pettifogger (R-Blather) used the term “obvious coincidence” when explaining this algebraic disparity to MSNBC: Sixty-eight.

Note: As with any item dependent on Fox News or MSNBC as sources, or that has anything to do in any way with the 2012 Presidential campaign, there are no actual “facts” in this column. 

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