President Barack Obama sent a not-so-subtle diss Congress’ way when he signed the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act into law on Wednesday. There are two surprising things about this: The first is that Congress actually managed to pass a bill (gasp!). The second is that this particular bill is the result of bi-partisan efforts (double gasp!). Obama pointed out both of these when he spoke while signing the bill into law.
What did he say, exactly? According to USA Today, he said:
“I love signing bills. I’d like doing it more often — what do you say, guys?”
Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) both worked hard on this bill, and Harkin told Obama that this was the 21st bill they’ve passed as a bi-partisan effort. To that, Obama said:
“Well, that’s because you and Lamar are some pretty productive legislators who actually have focused on getting stuff done. And we’re very proud of you and we’re proud of all the legislators who are here today. So congratulations, everybody.”
Ouch! That speaks directly to what the Tea Party wing of the GOP has done for the last four freaking years! And now, they want more! Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wants incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to block all presidential nominations, now that Obama’s taken executive action on immigration. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that taking that action would mean that there would be zero chance of immigration reform passing Congress at any time in the next two years (why?).
Ted Cruz also once said that he would never compromise. He didn’t believe that this country needed more compromise when he was elected. However, compromise is not only how anything actually gets done, it’s also how the best ideas come about. A group of people who all think pretty much alike has tunnel vision. People who don’t all think alike bring different perspectives, and thus, open up the possibility of developing a solution that nobody would have thought of on their own (if they’re willing to listen, instead of digging their heels in as deep as they can). Harkin and Alexander are currently shining examples of the compromise we actually do need in Congress.
Plus…they got something done! This Congress hasn’t gotten anything done! This is practically historic. As far as something as important as immigration reform, the Senate did pass a bill, but the House wouldn’t even take it up. Members on both sides of the Senate (plus the President) are understandably frustrated with that. In fact, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) both appeared on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” to talk about passing comprehensive immigration reform. So there’s at least a small bi-partisan wish to pass immigration reform. Will Congress do it?
Not bloody likely. The obstinate Tea Party does not play well with others. It is their way or the highway.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act isn’t inconsequential, either, like the one on this list from ABC News about the size of precious metal blanks for the Baseball Hall of Fame coins. That one passed in 2013. This bill, according to the USA Today article, requires childcare providers receiving federal dollars to conduct criminal background checks on all their employees. So it enhances the safety of the young children in childcare.
So, hooray! They can get things done! Note to all Congressional Republicans: We would love to see more of this from you!