Children act more reasonably than our representatives on Capitol Hill. Seriously.

They won’t talk. They won’t think for themselves. They only play with members of their own party. They snicker, bicker and stomp away.

To call them childish is rather insulting to children, don’t you think?

As September approached, members of Congress were wrapping a five-week recess and coming into a session that everyone knew included a possible government shutdown and the looming fight over the debt ceiling.

Still, you didn’t hear any of our elected “leaders” take a stand and request that legislators get back to Washington to head off any shutdown, or to get a head start on debt ceiling discussions, did you?

Certainly not. Cut short a five-week vacation? Hell no, plus there are future elections to be won and funds to be raised.

The worst thing a shutdown could do is tank their approval ratings. They still get paid and paid handsomely mind you — $174,000 annually.

Why should they worry?

They shouldn’t. It’s my belief the vast majority of Americans hear what they want to hear and disregard facts. Talking points win in the hyper-partisan world we live in today.

Still, some in Congress are trying to make good by pushing through piecemeal legislation that will open certain portions of the government. This is happening when the oh-so-evil media points out that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can no longer provide research or trial medicines to people who may live or die based on its work. Or, when people find out, through the media, national parks are closed or that veterans may not be receiving all the benefits they are entitled to.

Americans then spring to action. That causes those in Congress to jump too.

A shutdown is a shutdown. The piecemeal approach is rather ridiculous. Either there’s a shutdown or there’s not. But, since we elect Democrats and Republicans, they are going to cater to their bases and do whatever they can to provide a good talking point.

Take our local Congressman, Tom Marino, a Republican.

Since the shutdown, he’s released some rather heated press releases decrying the president and Democrats for their refusal to come to the table and bargain with Republicans. He never mentions the shortfalls of his own party, nor any responsibility his party shares in the matter.

Most ironic was a release following the passage by the House of legislation to continue funding NIH, re-open national parks and continue benefits and services for veterans.

“Unlike Democratic leaders in the Senate, who cannot comprehend the logic of continuing to fund critical cancer research and treatment programs, House Republicans passed legislation... to guarantee the National Institute of Health could continue to conduct life-saving programs,” Marino said.

Uh, Mr. Marino, remember the sequester?

The sequester, pushed by Republicans, cut funding to the NIH to the tune of $1.7 billion over 2012 figures, according to Science Magazine. NIH will fund 703 fewer research grants this year, the magazine reported.

The congressman’s office also issued a release with the following headline, “Marino reiterates his call for a civil dialogue”.

Funny. Marino was quoted as saying “we need to be civil” and pointed to Democrats in both chambers as using vile rhetoric.

This most certainly is playing out in tiny districts throughout the country, by both Democrats and Republicans.

Personally, it’s time they all go. Term limits, something advocated by Marino, sound really good right about now.

The whole argument by those opposing term limits is having an experienced lawmaker in place to best represent a local district.

Well, I’m not sure anyone has a district that’s proud of their representative right now.

Chris Brady is managing editor at the Standard Journal. He can be reached at

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