EDITORIAL: Ineffective U.S. Congress stumbles on two local issuesCongressional inaction became evident in the Northland twice again this week.
Congressional inaction became evident in the Northland twice again this week.
Duluth Mayor Don Ness revealed the city has received a stern Food and Drug Administration warning to stop purchasing pharmaceutical drugs from Canada. The drug reimport program helps the city and its employees to reduce their medical costs.
And today, we learned Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources will join Minnesota and Michigan in trying to regulate ballast water aboard maritime vessels. The effort is designed to reduce the number of foreign invasive species entering the Great Lakes’ ecosystem.
Both problems should have been addressed in the U.S. Congress. States acted only because U.S. Senators and Representatives aren’t doing their jobs.
Congress has avoided the growing health care crisis since the early 1990s, when Hillary Clinton studied the issue and made numerous recommendations. Although many federal officials disagreed with her findings, there never was a successful effort to reach consensus. As a result, individuals and employers are paying unprecedented high insurance rates, and there’s no indication rates will stop their upward climb.
In a letter to Ness, FDA officials say Duluth’s reimportation plan “likely violates federal law” and suggests Canadian prescriptions may be unsafe. The first assertion is an idle threat and the second is hogwash. Such programs could quickly be ended if Congress would develop its own plan, but members apparently are too busy with more important business, like eliminating steroids in professional baseball.
The invasive species problem is one the maritime industry wants addressed at the federal, rather than state, level. Port officials fear that if each state enacts its own rules, they likely will be dissimilar. That would force transportation firms to grapple with a regulatory hodgepodge that just may send their business elsewhere. One federal standard would be much easier to navigate. Congressional involvement, however, is but a dream.
It’s unclear whether Congress is stuck in neutral or reverse, but few today put their faith in this “representative” body.