You can almost always count on a history lesson from Sen. Angus King, who on Wednesday told a congressional committee tasked with finding a solution to the federal budget mess that the federal government hasn’t been this dysfunctional since the debate over the pre-Constitution Articles of Confederation.
He also quoted a 150-year-old warning to Congress from President Abraham Lincoln: “Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and the administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves.”
The politically independent King, a well-known history buff and former “Distinguished Lecturer” at Bowdoin College, is a member of the joint Senate and House Budget Conference Committee, which met for the first time on Wednesday. The committee is working on a deal that would end the federal budget sequester and avoid another federal government shutdown that will take place in January 2014 unless a compromise is reached.
King said in a news release that he’s hopeful the committee is on the way to a solution that eliminates “wasteful tax expenditures,” while reforming entitlement programs, but don’t take my word for it. Watch the video of his opening remarks, which include more 150-year-old advice from President Lincoln: