In case you were worried about the Senate debating important issues, fret not; today, the last day in session before the election, Senators argued about whether 41 dead polar bears should be allowed into the country. Naturally, the argument fell along party lines, although, somewhat surprisingly, it was Democrats urging a vote for the hunter-friendly legislation, which, in addition to letting carcass fetishists bring home their dead bear trophies, would:
...allow more hunting and fishing on federal lands, let bow hunters cross federal land where hunting isn't allowed, encourage federal land agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain shooting ranges, exclude ammunition and tackle from federal environmental laws that regulate lead, boost fish populations and protect animal habitat.
Sounds like something Republicans and Democrats (or at least those from red-ish states) can agree on, right? More killing, plus you're allowed to carry your crossbow on federal land? Bipartisanship at its finest, if you ask me. But nope. According to his Republican foes, Henry Reid, D-Nev, only wants the vote to help out the Democratic Senator from Montana, Jon Tester, who is up for election this year. That particular election in Montana could decide which party controls the Senate next year.
"This isn't a campaign studio; it's the Senate," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., complained on the Senate floor Friday. "We've got responsibilities to meet. Let's meet them. And leave the politics out of it for once."
Tester responded with the old "This is what's wrong with Washington, D.C." spiel:
"That might take some of the politics out of it and if we ever made a decision here without politics it would be an earth-shattering day," Tester said. "This bill right here is a prime example of what is wrong in Washington, D.C. – it's being held up for no reason whatsoever."
Meanwhile, the 41 hunters – they who slaughtered the polar bears before a law banning trophy imports was passed in 2008 – must wait longer for justice as their prized carcasses rot away in storage in Canada.
Perhaps Tester said it best:
"These polar bears are dead, they are in cold storage and we know exactly who they are," he said.
That's right. We know just who those bears are. And that's how the Senate spent part of its last day in session before the election. But at least it's been an otherwise productive session?
The 112th Congress is set to enter the Congressional record books as the least productive body in a generation, passing a mere 173 public laws as of last month.
[Image via AP]