Voters might pin COVID-19 relief failures on us!

Well, why wouldn’t voters blame Congress for bad legislation drafted without transparency that has gotten exploited by people with the least to lose? As Congress continues to take a powder in the pandemic, the bills they have passed continue to generate more complaints than economic activity, Politico reports. Constituents have gotten irate over a lack of promised assistance, and now congresscritters worry that this might impact their phony-baloney jobs, or something.

Give the president a harrumph! Or blame it on the bureaucrats, I suppose:

The sprawling CARES Act, and its similarly rushed companion bills, has fueled rising angst for lawmakers. They’ve been bombarded with complaints about breakdowns in the small business lending program, loopholes that have allowed large companies to snatch cash meant for smaller operations and administrative failures that have delayed stimulus checks to struggling American households. …

“Our constituents have a lot of questions about where the hell this $3 trillion is going and why it isn’t coming into their pockets,” Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) said during a Thursday meeting at the Capitol.

Lawmakers are now begging for fixes to a litany of legislative shortcomings. Several brought up issues with the small business program on a call with the head of Small Business Administration, Jovita Carranza, on Wednesday.

But the very next day, Congress passed another roughly massive relief bill with little done to address the early problems that have emerged.

The phrase “lawmakers are now begging for fixes” should raise eyebrows all over, especially when they’re pleading with the executive branch to supply them. If there are defects in a statute, it is Congress’ responsibility to fix them. For a Congress that just gave us all a shrieking warning about a supposedly out-of-control executive, they certainly haven’t minded passing the buck to Trump in this instance and essentially surrendering all lawmaking responsibilities in a national emergency.

Politico offers a lengthy discourse on all of the failures thus far in getting relief where it was intended to go. This is yet another example of the wisdom of the axiom Legislate in haste, repent at leisure. This failing goes well beyond that, however. Since the Brave Sir Robin Congress has abdicated its responsibilities to contribute to governing in this crisis, it’s also failing in its duties to provide oversight over the execution of the legislation it has passed:

Every snag in the CARES Act and its multi-billion-dollar brethren is fodder for potential audit or investigation by a slew of entities tasked with ensuring taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted or bilked from the coronavirus relief effort. But a month into the implementation of the massive new law, most oversight efforts are either nonexistent or just getting started.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have still yet to agree on a bipartisan choice to lead a five-member congressional panel charged with monitoring the most sprawling aspect of the CARES Act. That’s the $500 billion fund entrusted to the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve meant to shore up distressed industries, companies and local governments.

A special inspector general nominated by Trump to oversee the same fund has yet to get a confirmation hearing in the Republican-run Senate, as lawmakers weigh whether to return to Capitol Hill for their currently scheduled May 4 session.

Why? Because except for two brief appearances to pass these bills, Congress hasn’t shown up for work in a month. They could have anticipated some of these problems and taken enough time to correct the bills before they passed. Even if that wasn’t possible, Congress could have passed amending legislation to fix the issues when they first arose. Instead, Congress has appropriated trillions of dollars without any oversight at all, and now want the Trump administration to cover for them — after they shouted to the rafters for greater congressional oversight over the relief packages.

We’ll have more on the Brave Sir Robin Congress later today, but in the meantime, here’s a look at governance on Capitol Hill today. Nothing but harrumphs all around, and not a legislator to be seen. Utterly shameful, and let’s hope that voters do hold them accountable for this failure in November.

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