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Editorial columns

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112th session the worst Congress ever

The 112th Congress is more than three-quarters of the way done, yet it has failed to do the one job its members were elected to do – represent the people.

This Congress has adopted the tea party Republican strategy of taking from the middle class and poor and giving to the rich. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget increases the deficit by offering another layer of tax giveaways to the richest of Americans, creating welfare for the wealthy. It takes away funding from the basics of our social safety net and threatens Social Security and Medicare. Rep. Marlin Stutzman is a strong proponent of the Ryan budget and of even more dangerous cuts to the most vulnerable Americans.

Stutzman has led the fight to prevent the five-year farm bill from coming to a vote in the House and even voted against the legislation while in committee. His insistence on denying food assistance to 3 million people, school lunches to 300,000 children, and slashing the grocery budgets of 500,000 households is forcing the House to continually put off this vital legislation for Hoosier farmers. When Congress returns from vacation this month, there will only be eight days of session until the current farm bill expires. Another one-year extension is expected to be passed, putting off until tomorrow what should have been done already.

This is business as usual for the 112th Congress. Since taking office, my opponent and his Republican colleagues have not passed a single full appropriations bill.

Instead of doing its work and addressing the nation’s challenges, they have postured, pontificated and pushed off the critical decisions to another day. The dysfunction in Washington is costing the taxpayers. Last year’s credit downgrade cost $1.3 billion in additional interest, and the 33 doomed votes to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act cost nearly $50 million.

The 112th Congress has moved the debate from the question of, “What is right for the majority of Americans?” to one of “Who will win and who will lose?” This great partisan divide is the worst in our federal government since the days prior to the Civil War, and the American people have been the losers.

The 112th Congress has been an embarrassment to our country. Let’s not send them back to do more damage.

Kevin Boyd is the Democratic candidate for the 3rd District congressional seat. He wrote this for The Journal Gazette.

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