Congress, learn from Par­lia­ment

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL - STAN­LEY OR­MAN Rockville

As a nat­u­ral­ized Amer­i­can with a strong Bri­tish her­itage, I have watched with in­creas­ing amaze­ment the to­tal in­com­pe­tence of con­gres­sional mem­bers to avoid what will now be­come the col­lapse of the Amer­i­can health-care sys­tem.

As a young­ster I rec­og­nized the value of the Bri­tish sys­tem in which Par­lia­ment was dis­solved prior to an elec­tion, and the newly elected one con­vened im­me­di­ately af­ter the re­sult was an­nounced. No lame­duck ses­sions dur­ing which those thrown out of of­fice could still pass leg­is­la­tion.

The Democrats forced through a very poorly constructed, ill-named bill — the Af­ford­able Care Act — with­out a sin­gle Repub­li­can vote dur­ing a lame-duck ses­sion. With seven years to con­sider an im­prove­ment, the Repub­li­cans man­aged to botch a pro­posed so­lu­tion even while con­trol­ling both houses and the White House. In Bri­tain, we had a name for such be­hav­ior: in­com­pe­tence.

Another as­pect of Bri­tish life that I much re­spected was the recog­ni­tion by pub­lic fig­ures that if they had failed they re­signed. I re­call as a min­is­ter in the Bri­tish em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton at­tempts to ex­plain to Alexan­der Haig, the sec­re­tary of state, that Lord Car­ring­ton, our for­eign sec­re­tary, had re­signed af­ter the in­va­sion of the Falk­lands be­cause he thought he had given bad ad­vice to the Cab­i­net. Gen. Haig was con­vinced that Prime Min­is­ter Thatcher had fired Lord Car­ring­ton and wanted to know why.

Sadly it is clear that the in­com­pe­tents in Congress have no in­ten­tion of leav­ing of their own ac­cord, and when the time comes for another elec­tion most of them will be re­turned by an elec­torate that tol­er­ates such ap­palling be­hav­ior. Pres­i­dent Trump is go­ing to need much more help than he is cur­rently receiving to make Amer­ica great again.

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