ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Political parties have broken Congress, rendering it incapable of dealing with the nation’s huge budget deficit, a former Democratic congressman from Texas said Wednesday in Albuquerque.
The Republican and Democratic parties are controlled by extremists on the right and the left of the political spectrum, said Charles Stenholm, who addressed Economic Forum on behalf of BIPAC, a business-backed political action committee. The result, he said, is that “we are incapable of dealing with our deficit.”
BIPAC CEO Gregory Casey said that general elections “run like a representative republic, but when they get there the decisions are made in the best interest of the party, not the bet interest of policy outcome.”
“We don’t vote anymore in Congress,” said Stenholm, who represented a district in and around Abilene from 1979 to 2005. “Unless 117 Republicans agree to bring an immigration bill to the floor of the House, it will not come up, according to some. That is scandalous.”
“For 1,460 days all I heard from my Republican friends was that the Democratic Senate had not passed a budget,” he said. “They were right. That was scandalous and ridiculous. But now we’ve gone almost 90 days not going to a (House and Senate conference committee) on the budget.”
The difference between the House and Senate budgets is only about $90 billion out of a total of $3.8 trillion in spending, he said.
“The reason Congress is where it is now is they don’t vote,” Casey said. “If you don’t have to sit in a room and compromise to run the government, then why talk to the other side?”
Since the government is not solving the budget question, “at some point in time the market will take over and do it for us, as it is doing for the European Union, as it has done for Japan and as it is beginning to show even in the Chinese market,” Stenholm said.