Chicago Sun Times - June 26, 2009 - BY STEVE HUNTLEY
Dems' packed agenda crowds out other views
Congress, driven by President Obama's ambitious political agenda, is out to be a jack of all trades. Just look at its to-do list for this year -- health-care reform, clean energy legislation, overhaul of financial regulation, a rewrite of immigration law, stimulus spending to prod the economy toward recovery. Whew! And with six months left in 2009, who knows what else might be added?
That list doesn't include such major business as considering a new U.S. Supreme Court nominee or a host of less sweeping but still significant bills, like a just-passed measure giving an overburdened Food and Drug Administration the duty of regulating tobacco.
Are you feeling confident Congress can handle so many different pieces of complicated legislation -- for instance, the energy bill the House is due to vote on today is more than 1,200 pages long -- and get all, or any, of it right?
Any one of the top-priority measures carries the potential to transform our society in ways obvious, intended and immediate, and in ways not so clear, not planned and that may not be apparent for months or years.
Recall the complications, controversial tests and added costs educators say the well-meaning Leave No Child Behind Act has inflicted on schools, teachers, administrators and pupils. And that was a bipartisan piece of work by President George W. Bush and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).