House Democrats have wrapped up their promised 100 hours of legislative action by passing an energy bill with hours to spare. It was a rare show of Democratic efficiency, but what, exactly, did it prove?
The final energy measure repealed some tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, meaning they'll have less money to invest. More disturbing, it imposes a new tax on oil and gasoline from the Gulf of Mexico, as well as reneges on leases the industry signed with government in the 1990s.
The House passed a homeland security bill whose principal provision, universal inspection of seaborne cargoes, is impractical.
The House also voted to allow government funding of embryonic stem cell research even though President Bush has vetoed this once and likely will do so again.
It voted to halve the interest rates on student loans, although the savings won't match the growth in college tuition. And it voted to increase the minimum wage although many states already had done so.
These were modest accomplishments, in other words. The real work of government will take more than 100 hours.
The above editorial excerpt is from The Rocky Mountain News.