Our View: Amid turmoil, leaders vacation

Wednesday , August 13, 2014 - 3:39 PM

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Editorial Board

August is a preferred month for vacationing and that tradition has not stopped President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress from taking all or a healthy portion of the month off. 

Most of us don’t have the option of taking more than one, two, maybe three weeks off a year. If we’re fortunate enough to have a full-time job, we spend roughly 240 days a year on the job. The U.S. Congress, on the other hand, spends about 133 days in session, according to a report from ABC News. 

This year, both Houses of Congress decided to spend five weeks on vacation despite not reaching a solution to the ongoing immigration crisis, which has been heightened due to an influx of younger illegal aliens from Central America. The inaction is frustrating because a bipartisan deal could easily be reached with both sides agreeing to allocate money to deal with the current situation, provide work permits for longtime aliens here, and change current law in order to more easily deport future illegal immigrants.

But that would make sense, and sense is often at odds with the political bases of both parties as well as the animus they hold for each other.  As a result, nothing got done. (To be fair, Congress did manage to get highway infrastructure payments to states just before major cuts would have been mandated due to inaction)

President Obama has hinted he may take executive action on immigration, perhaps allowing millions of aliens to have work permits. That’s a job for Congress. We understand the frustration over Congress’ impotence on trying to make law, but it’s their job to pass legislation, not have the president act by fiat.

In fact, even President Obama is on vacation right now, enjoying the summer breezes, golf, the ocean, and more that Martha’s Vineyard offers. It’s an odd time to be on vacation, with a major terrorist threat in Iraq, Russia threatening Ukraine, and Gaza still a major problem.

But hey, it’s August, and no national pol misses an opportunity to vacation in the late summer. We can read all about it on our lunch breaks.

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