29 New Year's Resolutions Congress Should Make & Stick To This Year, Because Enough Is Enough
It's that time of year again. We're talking, of course, about New Year's resolutions — the annual tradition of pledging ourselves to new habits and goals that we'll strive to meet in 2015. It's as American a tradition as they come.
And after yet another year chock-full of some not-so-great moments for the U.S. Congress, why should we be the only ones shining a magnifying lens on things we might change? Here are a bunch of New Year's resolutions for Congress we'd like to see — come on, everybody, it's the year to make this country a better place.
Sen. Ted Cruz: "Stop Comparing Things to Obamacare"
No, Ted Cruz, net neutrality is not “the Obamacare of the internet.” Nor is funding it like British appeasement of the Nazis. Nor was Heathcare.gov run by “Nigerian email scammers.” Just stop, Ted Cruz.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Stop Pretending I'm a Presidential Contender"
Don’t get me wrong, I love Bernie. But what about a far-left Vermont Senator and self-avowed socialist screams presidential power-player? Seriously, frittering away time in New Hampshire two years from the 2016 election is probably not the best use of your time.
Speaker John Boehner: "Crack the Whip"
The new GOP-led Congress hasn’t even been sworn in yet, and already Boehner’s faced two major scandals within his membership — Rep. Michael Grimm, who’s resigning over a tax evasion conviction, and Rep. Steve Scalise, who’s been outed as a former speaker at a white nationalist conference. Here’s hoping he knows how to dole out the discipline.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi: "Age is Just a Number"
People are still giving Pelosi a hard time for her age, but luckily, she’s having none of it. If anyone tries this again in 2015, here’s hoping she offers the same reply she did in November: How old is Mitch McConnell again?
Sen. Pat Roberts: "Visit Home More Often"
Challenged on the grounds that he didn’t spend any time in his ostensible home state of Kansas during the midterm elections, Roberts gave away the game with a little slip: ”Every time I get an opponent – I mean, a chance – I come home to Kansas.” Oops.
Rep. Steve Scalise: "Stop Pandering to Racists"
The scandal du jour of recent days — GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is now in hot water for speaking to white nationalist group EURO in 2002, a group founded by arch-racist former Louisiana Rep. David Duke.
Rep. Steve King: "Apologize For Past Trangressions"
I guess this one works for a lot of people on this list, but Iowa Rep. Steve King has a long rap sheet — an apology for his infamous, widely mocked “calves the size of cantaloupes” remark about undocumented immigrants back in 2013 would be a worthwhile start.
Rep. Steve Cohen: "Don't Be Glib About Sexual Assault"
Cohen made a pretty monumentally bad gaffe when discussing the NFL’s sexual assault problem this year — he commented that NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning “don’t do sexual assault against people other than their wives.” Maybe think for a second before talking?
Former Rep. Eric Cantor: "Keep My Eyes on the Prize"
It was, after all, one of the biggest electoral upsets in recent memory — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, booted from the 2014 midterms by primary challenger David Brat. If Cantor had the chance to do it over, we’re guessing he would’ve taken things a bit more seriously.
Rep. Paul Ryan: "Work Out More"
This is everyone’s resolution, right? In the case of Rep. Ryan, he’s already in reportedly great shape, but he never stops pushing the pace — despite embarrassingly fibbing about his marathon time during the 2012 presidential race, the Wisconsin congressman is a known fitness fanatic.
Rep. Peter King: "Respect the Protests"
Yeah, not holding out hope on this one. After a Staten Island grand jury issued a non-indictment of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for the killing of Eric Garner, King announced that “all New Yorkers should respect the decision.”
Sen. Rand Paul: "Be Smoother About Dodging People"
Who could forget Paul’s wary escape from view when some pro-immigration activists approached he and Steve King at a restaurant in Iowa? Paul’s aide, for the record, insists he just had somewhere to be, but that seems a little convenient.
Rep. Curt Clawson: "Remember Not All People of Color Are Foreign"
This one was pretty skin-crawling, and got a lot of attention thanks to HBO’s John Oliver — the first-term congressman mistakenly addressed two U.S. government officials as though they were representatives from India. (They were brown-skinned, you see.) If I ever did something this awkward and foolish, I’d probably spend a full calendar year trying to forget it had ever happened.
Rep. Michael Grimm: "Don't Evade Taxes or Threaten Reporters"
If you buy the ticket, you take the ride. Grimm will have a nice year off to work on this resolution, having resigned from Congress over tax fraud.
Rep. Louie Gohmert: "Shut Up Now and Then"
Let other people talk sometimes too, Louie! Gohmert spoke on the House floor in 2014 for a staggering 29 hours, the most out of any congressperson. Though, given some of his more bizarre views, we’re guessing it at least made for interesting listening.
Sen. Lindsay Graham: "Chill About Benghazi"
Spolier: This one ain’t happening. The South Carolina Senator called a GOP-led report clearing away conservatives’ core scandalous theories relating to the Benghazi consulate attack in 2012 “full of crap,” so it’s safe to say he’s not done with the issue.
Sen. John McCain: "Let Someone Else Go On the Sunday Morning Shows"
Seriously, man. All the camera hogging is poor form.
Sen. Mark Begich: "Grow a Huge, Woolly Beard"
Look, somebody need to do it! We can’t afford a congressional beard deficit, after all, and Begich hails from the frigid environs of Alaska.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein: "Key CIA Director John Brennan's Car"
The Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA are, um, not on great terms lately. And with the CIA’s infiltration of Senate staffer computers now a known fact, who could blame Feinstein for scratching up whatever nice ride Brennan’s position affords him?
Sen. Mitch McConnell: "Let Rand Paul Borrow my Election-Day Sweater Vest"
It was one of his fellow Kentuckian’s Festivus grievances this year, after all.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: "Change My Name For a 2016 Run"
Because let’s face it, voting to send Whitehouse to the White House is probably a leap too far for many Americans.
Rep. Bruce Braley: "Don't Talk Down Farmers in Iowa"
Rest assured, this is a resolution Braley won’t soon forget — his derogatory reference to incumbent Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley being “a farmer from Iowa, who never went to law school” didn’t do him any favors during his losing race for the seat in the 2014 midterms. Mocking farmers in Iowa? Not so sharp.
Former Sen. Scott Brown: "Wait, I'm Not in the Senate Again?"
Okay, so this is cheating a bit, as Brown actually lost his race against New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen. But he’s got to be bewildered about this — in that red wave of a 2014 midterm, he still couldn’t get it done? Maybe the real resolution to take away is this: “Home is where the heart is, not where the most politically expedient Senate race is.”
Rep. Scott DesJarlais: "Don't Pressure Women to Get Abortions"
Or, maybe that won’t be his resolution. After all, despite being an ostensible anti-abortion Republican who was all too willing to urge his mistress (also one of his patients, naturally) to get one, he won reelection in Tennessee handily this year.
Sen. Harry Reid: "Make Less Racist Jokes"
Sen. Chuck Grassley: "Always Turn On Autocorrect"
Grassley’s been Congress’ king of stilted, incomprehensible tweets for years, and 2014 was no exception.
Rep. John Dingell: "At Least Five Tweets Per Day"
Considering how he lit up social media with this one, I’d say he’s a natural. And he’ll have plenty of time — the 88-year-old is retiring after 29 terms in Congress.
Rep. Raul Grijalva: "Never, Ever Apologize For the Mustache"
As mentioned earlier, political facial hair is all too rare a thing these days. Hopefully the longtime liberal Rep. Grijalva knows the power he holds on his face. This is an important lesson — a New Year’s Resolution can be used for a double-down, too.