Updated: Thursday, October 24 2013, 09:32 PM EDT
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Our Congress avoided economic calamity on Wednesday by passing a last-minute, Senate-led bill to restore government funding.
The trouble is that it's only good for 90 days--through January 15th--and then we get round 2.
The same problems, the same acrimony, and the same people.
Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says he has a solution, and it's been right under our noses all the while.
That's right. It's time to turns the reins of our government over to women. The men in suits have failed us.
In recent days, weeks and months, the only people in Washington who seem to understand what's going on are women.
Just two weeks ago, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine took the podium on the Senate floor and told her colleagues to "stop fighting and start legislating."
The suits didn't hear her. But two of her colleagues did. And suddenly there was a group of three: Collins, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Democratic Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
"As just one person," Murkowski said, "you don't get anywhere. We cannot work individually and expect to accomplish the work that is needed. We've got to be working together."
Three women—two Republicans and a Democrat, standing firm in the face of obstructionists who were perfectly willing to let the world slide into economic chaos by allowing this nation go into default; perfectly willing to ignore their own constitutional obligation to pay the nation's bills. On time.
After a few days, the group of three became the group of six, then eight, now ten, and growing.
Compare the words of Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington with those of Congressman John C. Fleming of Louisiana, one of the 144 house members to vote "no" on yesterday's bill to end the government shutdown.
Here what Murray said:
"My hope is that in the weeks and months ahead, we can heal many of the partisan divides that keep us from addressing the big challenges we face, including returning our focus to creating jobs and improving our economy."
And from Fleming? "See," he said with a grin. "We're going to start this all over again."
It makes me cringe.
Are there problems in our government? Yes. All over the place. Are there problems with the Affordable Care Act?
Are you kidding? For starters, they had 3 1/2 years to develop a multi-billion dollar computer system to help people make choices and sign up for healthcare.
And they did a terrible job of it.
Did anyone of them think of getting advice from the people at, say, Facebook? But Obamacare is the law, so let's fix it!
But to shut down our country instead? The shutdown that ended last night cost our government an estimated $24 billion.
Imagine that. How many band-aids, runny noses, and broken arms would that have paid for?
But these sneering, idealistically-driven men in suits don't care.
But the women in Washington do.
Freshman Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren:
"In our democracy, government is just how we describe all of the things that 'we the people' have already decided to do together. We are not a country of anarchists. We are not a country of pessimists and ideologues whose motto is 'I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own.'”
Take a look around. The head of the International Monetary Fund is Christine Lagard, of France.
"I hope," she said yesterday, "that in a few weeks time we will look back and say 'what a waste of time that was.'"
I doubt the angry men in suits heard her.
The most successful country in Europe is run by a woman, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
She's admired and respected all over the continent.
Hourly pay in Germany has gone up 30 percent since 1985. In the United States, it's up only six percent.
Iceland collapsed in the wake of Lehman Brothers. Now it's a country whose banks, funds, and government are run largely by women and is doing quite nicely.
In this country there's a quiet but dramatically exciting movement afoot.
And it's a movement led by women who are weary of our political system being run by frightened men who seem to have no concept anymore of what's right for their country.
As Elizabeth Warren put it: "We are not that nation. We have never been that nation. And we never will be that nation."
More power to her. More power to them. It's time.
In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.