Congress plays games while America nears default

Congressmembers may think their annual baseball game is a cutesy bipartisan gesture but this year it felt more like Nero fiddling while Rome burns

Katelyn Burns
2 min readSep 30, 2021


Photo by John Brighenti. License.

Last night, members of congress gathered at Nationals Park for their annual congressional baseball game, pitting Democrats against Republicans. It’s a favorite tradition among members and their hangers on in the DC press. But this year, with a government shutdown looming just a day later and a credit default just weeks away, this year’s edition fell flat.

The ruling class in DC is currently dealing with three large issues: the president’s $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, a reconciliation bill to keep the government open, and a Republican insistence on filibustering a debt ceiling increase.

The prospects of passing any of the three appear quite low, as rogue actors in the Democratic party are teaming with Republicans to hold the process hostage to their own personal whims.

Congress, and more specifically the Senate, is horribly broken thanks to the filibuster. The minority party in the Senate sets the terms for the entire agenda in DC, and a small handful of senators in the micro-slim Democratic majority enable them.

Images of Nancy Pelosi on the phone, seemingly still trying to broker a deal that satisfies the whip count to avoid catastrophe spread throughout social media and President Joe Biden himself showed up, armed with presidential branded Dove ice bream bars as he schmoozed with Republican lawmakers who legitimately don’t believe he rightfully won his own election.

But there’s no evidence that the night worked towards furthering bipartisanship on the Hill. Sen. Krysten Sinema remains non-committal towards… well anything really. Sen. Joe Manchin remains committed to protecting his oil, gas, and coal donors. So nothing has changed.

Everyone is posturing and gesturing at a deal. The White House is frantically holding meetings with Sinema and Manchin trying to determine what they want out of the impending deals, with little success.

Instead, members of congress played baseball. Sharing in a good time while Americans are left in the lurch. Now I’m not naive enough to believe that congress will ever act out of the best interests of Americans or that bipartisanship is good for bipartisanship’s sake, but keeping the government functioning is the most basic task of the government and even that seems like too much for this congress (and many before it).

Instead they play games while America burns.



Katelyn Burns

Political journalist. The first openly trans Capitol Hill reporter in US history. Writing about more than just trans issues. Follow her on Twitter @transscribe