Sunday, July 16, 2006
What exactly does Tim Johnson do?
The current United States House of Representatives seems to be one of the laziest on record. By the end of the 2005-2006 term, the House is scheduled to have met 241 times. No House has served fewer days since the 1955-56 session. Even the infamous 1947-48 "Do-Nothing Congress" met for 254 days.
This is particularly strange considering the country is supposed to be in a state of war. I reckon there are plenty of soldiers serving in Iraq who would love to only work 140 days a year, as the House managed to pull off in 2005.
Our particular representative, the wiry Timothy Johnson, seems to fit right into to this culture of lethargy. Good ole Tim has only given one speech on the floor of the House since 2003. In fact, Johnson has only proposed 32 bills during his three terms as representative for the 15th district. While an average of around five bills per year may seem like a lot, Tim is in a tie for last place among all-time bill losers. He has never had a sponsored bill enacted.
To be fair, Johnson has co-sponsored some 483 bills during his three terms. Of course co-sponsoring a bill is about as hard as saying "uh-huh" when asked. This seems to be easy for Johnson, who has voted "ney" only five times this year (though I should mention that three of those votes were to protect the environment and one was against the USA Patriot Act). Tim is also Vice-Chair of the Committee on Science's Subcommittee on Research. I assume it is an honor to be Vice-Chairman of a subcommittee of a committee.
What is striking about Johnson is his seeming vulnerability on a host of issues. He votes against giving bonuses to soldiers, accepted $25K from Tom Delay's ARMPAC, and is strongly opposed to stem-cell research. Moreover, he seems genuinely disengaged from the process of governing. His personal life seems a bit checkered, to put it mildly.
But most important is his inability to bring the rewards of majority rule to the 15th District. Are republicans content with having Johnson as their rep just because he is a republican? Shouldn't we see some benefit to having a republican representative in Congress during the heyday of republicanism? In short, what has Tim Johnson done for us lately?
Like the U.S. House, the answer seems clear: not much.