Do-Nothing Congress

Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

Before long, Congress will be leaving on its Summer Vacation. My question is, how will we know they are gone?

It's been so long since Congress did anything I have to stop and think to remember what it is they are supposed to do.

Oh I remember now, improve the lives of the people who elected them. Can't think of another reason, can you?

Don't misunderstand me. Congress does stay busy. The debate on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage took a lot of time. Of course, all sides knew there was no chance it would pass. Did the debate improve your life?

The debate on immigration policy took up more time, but the House and Senate never came close to consensus so they have basically thrown in the towel and decided to hold hearings around the country. Maybe they could appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission and waste even more time.

This week begins perhaps the greatest time waster of all: yet another debate on a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning, which has as much chance of passing as I have of pitching in the World Series.

Nevertheless, both sides love it because its an excuse to raise campaign contributions. The Conservatives can appeal for money to help them protect Old Glory, the Libs to protect free speech.

But even those in Congress expect nothing to happen. "it's an election year," one Senator told a friend, "nothing is going to fly this year, but we all have to do a lot of flapping."

Funny, except it's our time and money they're wasting.

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By Bob Schieffer