Letters: Congress fiddling while nation burns

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The members of Congress have been given the opportunity to receive the coronavirus vaccine ahead of many of their constituents in order that “Congress may continue to function.”

There are those of us who feel that would be quite a positive reversal, since Congress doesn’t seem to have been ‘functioning” at all of late! I am furious that these men and women who have been elected in good faith to represent the people of their states and counties and cities seem to have forgotten who sent them to those hallowed Washington legislative halls!

Job growth has slowed, unemployment numbers are rising. The poverty rate has increased to 11.7 percent; 17.5 percent of households with children did not always have enough to eat; 9.1 percent of households are not current on the rent or mortgage; and 31 percent expect someone in their household to lose employment very soon.

More than 325,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, with some 3,600 deaths one day last week and one million new cases occurring in less than a week. A new, believed to be fast-moving, mutant strain of the virus has now surfaced across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, with surety that it will be here before long with its deadly spikes.

And now, as of this week, we learn that millions of doses of Pfizer’s potentially life-saving coronavirus vaccine are piled on the company’s storage shelves, while state after state after state is being notified that they will receive 30 to 40 percent less allocation than they were first promised. Our military-directed logistics are failing those health care workers who need help the most.

“I’m from the government; I’m here to help you.” Remember that famous Ronald Reagan quote? It is haunting those who believed in a promised offer of help from their elected officials. OMG legislators, who ARE you working for?

Now it comes out that one of the major sticking points for the combating legislators was one party’s efforts to curtail the powers of the Federal Reserve, to hamper any potential repeat of the March CARES emergency funding act. Curtail the Federal Reserve when people are being evicted and children are starving and many are frightened of dying from the newest mutant of the coronavirus which has already surfaced in Great Britain, Netherlands and Australia?

In addition, frightening information about major computer hacking, underway in many American companies, is being attributed to Russia by one senior administration official while the President suggests the “news media should look at China” for the source instead. Does the left hand even know what the right hand knows?

It is important to note that the very funding budget for the operation of the government itself will expire again this weekend. There have been four “kick the can down the road” stopgap funding bills for the governmental operations since September. Four times, in the last four months, lawmakers could not see beyond the next short horizon. (Never mind planning and passing responsible, well-envisisoned annual budgeting.) Now, legislator leaders have tied much-needed, new stimulus efforts to any budget deal supporting governmental operations. Observers agree that both arrangements are teetering on the brink of failure.

Some legislators have already left Washington for their home districts, which could potentially make a vote on the two vital issues even more difficult.

Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

Mel Kelly

This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: Letters: Congress fiddling while nation burns

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