Gene Healy writes:
Has Congress become “a useless appendix on the governmental structure”? That was what then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. J. William Fulbright, D-Ark., feared in 1968, according to newly released transcripts from the committee’s closed-session debates over Vietnam. Unless Congress was willing to assert itself on the war, he said, “I do not see how we have any real function.”
Last week found Congress once again doing a good imitation of a vestigial organ, as the House forked over $37 billion more for our endless Afghan adventure. Maybe if we called it “armed community organizing” instead of “nation building,” more Republicans would be against it.
It’s “not just the president’s war,” Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., protested. “It’s our war too. … We must not simply kick the can down the road.”
Alas, legislative can kicking is what the modern Congress does best. Take the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” bill the president just signed. It’s a 2,300-page PR exercise that delegates everything and settles nothing. Lenders and investors wondering what’s legal will have to await some 243 rulemakings from 11 different agencies.