We're Unable to Act

With deficits at unnerving levels, Congress stumbles to adjournment

The situation was distressingly familiar. The 98th Congress had dithered for months over its most basic responsibility: funding the vast operations of the Federal Government. Now it was in a frantic haste to adjourn. In a sudden spasm of activity, it fell all too short of meeting its self-imposed spending and revenue limits. Illinois Democrat Dan Rostenkowski, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, pronounced a scathing verdict on the legislators' performance. "As we leave Washington," he predicted, "word of our impotence will precede...

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