Congress is now on summer break. Let me take this opportunity to give you a very brief synopsis of what has and has not been accomplished during the first seven months of this session.
The good news is that there has been progress not enough, but some progress toward helping veterans, improving conditions for working people, making college more affordable, reversing our disastrous energy policies and increasing access to health care.
The bad news is that, six years into the worst administration in the modern history of our country, Congress has failed so far to significantly reverse President Bushs most misguided policies and change the direction that he has taken our country.
Exhibit A in what has not been accomplished is ending the war in Iraq. In the election last November, the war was the single biggest issue and the main reason why voters threw Bush loyalists in Congress overboard. The people wanted a change of course. The president changed course in Iraq alright. He sent even more troops over there. Ignoring opposition in Congress, Bush mounted a surge in Iraq that put more American soldiers in the middle of a sectarian civil war. Congress then passed a bill that set a timetable for withdrawal. Bush vetoed it. Unfortunately, we do not have the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.
Action to end the war in Iraq has also has been stymied by Senate rules. It takes 60 votes to end debate on any bill in the Senate. While opposition to the war is gaining ground, the reality is that there are not now 60 senators who will vote to end a filibuster. We must not give up. We must bring our troops home as soon as possible. We must ratchet up pressure on the president. We must make senators and congressmen accountable for their votes. As someone who has opposed this war from the very beginning, it is my view that we must keep the Senate in session for however long it takes, not just one all-nighter, to end the filibuster and end the war.