You Can't Make This Stuff Up ...
A non-binding resolution to acknowledge victims of 2005's Gulf Coast hurricanes and reaffirm Congress' commitment to rebuilding the Gulf Coast region failed to make it to the House floor.
The resolution was written by embattled Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), but received bipartisan support from the Louisiana and Mississippi delegations.
Why didn't it pass? The unofficial word was that House Republicans didn't want to allow Jefferson -- the target of a federal bribery probe -- to score any free public relations points.
The resolution would have recognized "the importance of the Gulf Coast region to the national economy," expressed the House's "support for all those affected by these terrible natural disasters one year later," and reaffirmed the government's "commitment to rebuilding the Gulf Coast region and improving the quality of life for all residents."
Non-binding resolutions don't carry much weight, but you have to think that hurricane victims would appreciate some sympathy (in addition to more tangible help -- the Associated Press offered a recent analysis of the Bush Administration’s failure to follow-up on promises made after Katrina.) Consider that 82% of Katrina victims say their lives are still not back to normal, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll.
So, in a move most likely to punish Jefferson -- who if found guilty deserves no sympathy -- House Republicans passed on an opportunity to show their support for hurricane victims. Bravo, people. Way to redefine "leadership."
Congress did find time to pass a whole bunch of other non-binding resolutions before its summer recess, according to the blog BSAlert.
Most notable was House and Senate passage of a resolution recognizing the significance of the Napa Valley victory at the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, 30 years ago. Other successful non-binding resolutions included acknowedging Hire a Veteran Week and National Bike Month, marking the 100th anniversary of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, recognizing the official American Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO, and commemorating the 1946 season of Hall of Fame Pitcher Bob Feller.
Remember, people, you have the power to vote this do-nothing Congress out of office in just 75 or so days.