Addressing the Elephant, or Pig, in the Room

Piggyback rides may be a positive nugget of nostalgia from childhood recalled upon fondly, or perhaps a form of transportation one utilizes on a drunken walk home from a trip to the bar with friends. In the current political climate, however, they represent a completely different, yet equally childish, act.

Piggyback legislation, or “riders,” take the form of an amendment or group of amendments attached to must-pass legislation. The piggyback greases passage of unpopular measures – measures that would not pass if they were forced to stand on their own.

 

For example, Republicans tried, once again, to piggyback the repeal of Obamacare onto a highway infrastructure bill last week. Since the health care law was passed in 2010, the Senate has voted about three dozen times to completely repeal it or at least defund parts of it, all by attaching those measures  to other bills.

This is an entirely legal act Congress uses while saying it is the only way to get things done.  In reality, they’re using it as a weapon.

Allowing piggyback legislation to exist at all is a massive injustice. Major bills that need to be passed in order for the nation to be the best version of itself are held ransom by this process.

From funding infrastructure to improving education, from passing equal pay legislation to keeping Medicare alive, so much that actually needs to be done is being blocked by toddlers stomping their feet and making decisions based solely on keeping absurd promises to constituents.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a freshman in the Senate having only served since January of this year, stated that he made commitments to his state’s citizens, commitments apparently that are solely to strip heath care coverage away from millions of previously uninsured people.

It is because of these bogus pledges that many members of Congress are thwarting passage of bills that will actually accomplish something.

How many more tax dollars will be wasted on these temper tantrums the GOP insists on throwing over a law that has already been approved by the Supreme Court? How many more acts of Congressional warfare must they commit before Americans finally demand better behavior from elected officials?

To the GOP, it’s time for America to say—go home. You’re drunk.

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