Nothing Doing In Congress

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. gestures while meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007.
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made a speech the other day in which he bragged that even though Republicans are the minority, they had kept many bad things from happening.

Well, that's just the half of it.

With the help of the Democratic majority, they have managed to keep much of anything from happening, good or bad.

Who says there's nothing that two sides can't accomplish together? Of course there is - doing nothing.

Congress ran to the airport Friday for yet another break - they're taking two weeks this year for Thanksgiving. I wouldn't ask how many days you're taking because that would be a digression.

But my question is this: What do the following have in common?

Legislation to provide health insurance for children, education legislation, energy legislation, the farm bill, funding the Iraq war, and legislation funding all federal agencies except the Pentagon next year.

The answer is: All of them are stalled in Congress, awaiting final action, tangled in the gridlock that the Republicans blame on the Democrats and the Democrats blame on the Republicans.

Breaking the gridlock won't be easy. After all, once Congress gets back from the Thanksgiving break, Christmas vacation will be just weeks away.

I've heard all the excuses so many times, I've stopped listening. All I know is Congress continues to bring new meaning to that old phrase: nothing doing.

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By Bob Schieffer
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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.