A very short work year

Well here it is, February, so talk has already begun that Congress isn’t going to be working on much of anything until after the 2014 elections, a scant 10 months away.

A story in Monday’s Maui News said House Republicans aren’t in any rush to pass an immigration bill because they don’t trust the president to beef up border protection as part of a deal.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said he isn’t in any hurry to deal with another one of President Obama’s priorities – knocking down trade barriers with Europe and Asia.

Apparently, big labor is opposed to these trade bills so Reid expressed a strong reluctance to “fast-track” them. Until after the election, of course.

It would seem that both parties see any true action as a threat to their electoral chances.

The motto appears to be, “When in doubt, do nothing!”

Usually we’d agree that the only thing worse than inaction is when these guys do something. But, try as we might, some problems just won’t go away by ignoring them.

Take immigration, for instance. According to the New York Times, about 11.7 million immigrants are living in the United States illegally. Most of them are here to work and you’d think Congress would want to find a way to make their status legal, even if they don’t want to provide a path to citizenship.

By ignoring the problem, we also are allowing it to get bigger as more illegals arrive through our porous border with Mexico. Shoring up that border has to be part of the solution, and we are going to have to trust whoever is president to back that effort.

The trade issue is complex, but protections for American workers can be part of the negotiating process.

For now, though, it looks like tackling big problems is going to be sacrificed at the altar of electoral ambitions. It is baffling why we keep sending the same people back to Washington.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.