Opinion: Congress should not have taken Friday off with so much to do this week
EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Congress, like most of the federal government, does not work on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That is a good thing. The holiday is an important celebration of the legacy of Dr. King and the civil rights movement.
The problem is that our senators and representatives took an extra day off on the Friday before the holiday when their plate is unbelievably full. Let’s take a look at critical parts of the congressional agenda just for this week.
First, the federal government is going to be shut down this coming Friday if a funding plan is not agreed to. The right thing to do here is what the GOP consistently called for in the past - to pass an actual budget. Right now, due to the inability of our elected officials to get their act together, passing a budget appears less likely.
Second, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, CHIP, which provides healthcare to 9 million children in this country, has to be reauthorized by this Friday. If this does not occur, some states will start running out of funding by then, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That will result in children losing health coverage in our country.
Third, immigration reform remains elusive, with not even an intermediate deal in place on border security, chain migration, DACA and the visa lottery.
Here is the bottom line: we send elected officials to Washington to achieve results, not to take extra-long weekends. The larger issue is not about one more day off for Congress, but the lack of urgency with which issues that impact our day-to-day lives are addressed on Capitol Hill.