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Posted on Apr 29, 2008 in Beltway Politics, Campaign '08, Congress, Conservatism, Economy, Party Politics, Spending

Bush takes on Congress: Will it do anything?

Today President Bush gave an address from the Rose Garden at the White House where he held nothing back in expressing his frustration with the current Congress and their inability to work issues out, instead just resulting in using political tactics to block key programs.

Particularly, President Bush used this criticism to address the financial crisis facing the United States (courtesy of CNN.com):

“I repeatedly submitted proposal to help address the problems. Time after time, Congress chose to block them,” he said.

Bush called on Congress to send him sensible and effective bills to keep the country moving forward before taking questions from reporters.

I really hope this isn’t President Bush’s way of saying that he would hope for more bailouts of corporations and individuals who are facing financial troubles.

It was after all, President Bush who pushed hard for Congress to agree on a stimulus package, which in the opinion of many conservatives was an extremely wasteful idea that will probably have little impact on the economy.

However, in the same press conference, President Bush also went after Congress for even considering passing the Farm Bill, which has become even heavier in farm subsidies, increasing the burden on the American taxpayer.

Finally, President Bush made the effort to try and set the tone for Congress as his Presidency winds down:

Bush asked Congress to focus on four areas: energy, food prices, mortgage payments and student loans. The president urged Congress to pass legislation that would lead to more affordable and reliable energy at home.

While I give President Bush credit for calling out Congress, these directives sound almost exactly like the pitch the Democrats were giving the American people when they cleaned up shop in the 2006 elections.

Calling out Congress is extremely important when the country is in financial turmoil, but I think it’s also extremely important that when the President speaks, that he has more substance and addresses the real problems that are at hand.

Instead of telling Congress to address these issues, President Bush should have told Congress what specific things he would like to see, what he would be open to signing, and what things he isn’t going to cave in on.

This is his last term and he has absolutely nothing to lose.

I would argue that this is probably one of the few opportunities where the Republicans didn’t have to cave into the pressures of the Democrats, in fear of losing political points.

Before President Bush leaves office, I’d love for him to tell Congress that he will only support packages that are based on substance and real need for ALL Americans, not just small populations, or special interests. While it wont be the most popular action in his presidency, it will set a tone that Republicans can and will stand up to frivolous spending, and actually try and use fiscal restraint to try and get this countries economy back on track.

Bailouts, subsidies and pork-projects aren’t going to fix the economy, however prudence and cutbacks will put us on the right course.