Editorial: Bar set pretty low for 113th Congress
BY World's Editorials Writers
Friday, January 04, 2013
1/04/13 at 3:55 AM
The 113th Congress was sworn in Thursday. Americans can only hope that it will not be as bad as the 112th. Don't, however, hold your breath.
The 112th left after its leaders and the president hammered out a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff." It was a deal that few were happy with and left tea party leaders vowing that there will be a high political price to pay for those Republicans who voted for the bill.
The 112th also disbanded without approving much-needed disaster aid for the states devastated by superstorm Sandy, drawing heavy criticism from many Republicans, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Congress now plans to vote on $9 billion in relief Friday and another $60 billion on Jan. 15.
It was a Congress that accomplished little and earned an extremely low opinion among voters, one that likely helped President Obama to be re-elected. The bar established by the 112th was quite low.
The 113th Congress has a new political makeup. Although Republicans retained control of the House, they lost eight seats. The new House count will be 233 Republicans and 200 Democrats. There are two vacancies. The Senate will change, also. The Democrats retain control there and picked up two Republican seats. The Democrats control the chamber 55-45. That includes two independents who caucus with the Democrats.
Speaker John Boehner was returned to his post despite recent controversy over the fiscal cliff deal that some believed might cost him a second term as speaker.
The 113th Congress faces its own difficulties. Although the fiscal cliff fiasco was averted, decisions must be made in the next few months over spending cuts, the feared sequester that could trigger massive automatic spending cuts and raising the debt ceiling.
The last standoff on the debt ceiling almost shut down the government and hurt the country's credit rating. That must not happen again.
There are almost 100 new members of this Congress. We can hold out hope that they will be more reasonable and willing to put the good of the country above politics. We wish them and the country good luck.
Original Print Headline: The newbies