Iowa’s senators issue a challenge

The work habits of many U.S. senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives are an ongoing frustration for many Americans. There are short workweeks and far too frequent recesses when lawmakers depart Washington for extended periods of time. That leads to widespread cynicism about the commitment of these officials to the hard work needed to address the nation’s needs.

Iowa’s two U.S. senators — Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst — both have the well-deserved reputations for being hard-working public servants. Consequently, it not all that surprising that they jointly sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling for the Senate to remain in session rather than take an October recess.

Grassley and Ernst recognize that Congress has accomplished far less than it should have this year. They believe staying in Washington and making a renewed effort to accomplish the tasks constituents sent them to the nation’s capital to address is vital.

“Last November, the American people sent a clear message to Washington that business as usual was no longer acceptable,” they said to McConnell in their letter. “Congress was finally given an opportunity to fulfill the promises we have made to the American people, such as rolling back burdensome regulations, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, modernizing our infrastructure and reforming our outdated and uncompetitive tax code.”

The senators make clear that they do not regard now as an appropriate time for lawmakers abandon Washington for yet another recess. Neither Grassley nor Ernst is naïve about how difficult to resolve some issues with which Congress must deal truly are. That’s why they argue that more time on the job in Washington will be needed to bring about forward progress.

“However challenging these issues may be, the American people rightfully expect us to follow through on the commitments that we have made, and we believe it is critical that we devote the necessary time to accomplishing these tasks,” they said in their letter.

The Times-Republican strongly agrees. We commend our senators for taking the lead in urging their colleagues to spend the time and do the work necessary to achieve the public policy outcomes our nation so badly needs. This is not a time when a do-nothing Congress is tolerable.