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The coronavirus crisis has forced all Americans to ask the question: what are the essential and non-essential things in our lives?
Amid this debate, as Americans struggle to survive the shutdown and as our country struggles to avoid a prolonged recession, it is odd that Congress, through its actions, would openly declare itself nonessential. Congress has, after all, not congressed in any meaningful sense for over two months.
During this time the largest spending bill in American history passed without amendments or a recorded vote. Last week Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., passed a rule allowing Congress to stay out of session until mid-July and a proxy voting proposal that would undo centuries of precedent and allow the speaker to pass legislation with less than 25 out of 435 members present.
In other words, approximately 5 percent of the members of Congress are essential and the rest of us are nonessential.
These developments should not come as a surprise. They are essentially the culmination of decades of dereliction of constitutional duty by Congress.