© Frederick Deligne,Le Pelerin, France

Century Marks

Do-nothing Congress: In the past six years, congressional oversight of the executive branch of the federal government has practically disappeared, say Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann (Foreign Affairs, November/December). The Republican-dominated Congress has been reticent to criticize a Republican president—former majority leader Tom DeLay said oversight isn’t necessary when the president is from your own party—and the Bush administration has been uncooperative in responding to hearings. Besides, congressional members are preoccupied with raising campaign funds. Typically, no votes in Congress occur before 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday or after noon on Thursday. “The current 109th Congress is slated to have the smallest number of days in session in our lifetimes, with fewer than 100 in 2006,” the authors conclude.


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