The White House and Congress have had nearly five months to reach an agreement on a new stimulus deal that would extend benefits that millions of Americans have come to rely on since the COVID-19 pandemic not only threatened their medical health, but also the health of the U.S. economy. Still, they failed to do so before benefits from March's bill expired.
Senate Republicans have backed out of negotiations, leaving it up to the Trump Administration and House Democrats to hammer out a resolution, but the two sides are said to be trillions of dollars apart.
Former South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy says that Americans, 30 to 40 million of whom could currently be at risk for eviction, should be angry at "everyone" in Washington -- from Capitol Hill to the White House.
"I think the challenge in Washington is when there is no consequence for inaction, what you're going to get is inaction," Gowdy told Cheddar.
"Nothing ever gets done in Washington until the last minute," he said, comparing it to Munchausen syndrome by proxy. "You create a catastrophe and then you want to be rewarded for fixing the catastrophe at the very end. It's just in this very instance they didn't fix it."
Gowdy served as South Carolina's Republican representative for its 4th congressional district from 2011 to 2019 until he chose not to seek re-election. While serving, he said he would often get stopped in the grocery store by constituents who asked him to cut through the partisan gridlock and work on a compromise. Gowdy thinks in some way, the division in Washington accurately reflects the state of our nation.
"Both parties perceive it to be in their political best interest to insist upon what they want," Gowdy said. "There is a perception, be it correct or incorrect, that that is what the people want."
As a current contributor to Fox News, Gowdy often criticizes the intelligence community for its handling of the infamously unverified Steele Dossier and its alleged use as the grounds on which to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump's campaign for corruption.
Still, Gowdy acknowledges that the president has allowed shady figures like Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and recently-indicted Steve Bannon into the upper echelons of the U.S. government.
"I think the President would tell you if you were asking him, that he was not served well by whoever did the vetting," Gowdy said, before ripping into Bannon. "You can read my deposition of him when I was in the House, and it won't take you long to figure out I don't like him. He takes credit for things he doesn't deserve credit for."
Still, he is not convinced missteps by the Trump administration will necessarily spell victory for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in November.
"Biden, I thought, did a good job last night [at the convention], but clearly he doesn't think he has to discuss policy. It's just going to be a personality contest. They tried that in 2016 and it didn't work out well."
Known for his prosecutorial style of questioning in congressional hearings, Gowdy found himself frustrated over the House of Representatives' five-minute-per-speaker structure for high-profile testimonies.
"The whole system is laughable," Gowdy said. "You have five minutes to interview someone about encryption or five minutes to interview the attorney general."
Gowdy suggests that Republicans and Democrats should each be given an hour to interview witnesses.
"Five minutes is a joke, within which to discuss complicated issues," Gowdy said. "Some of the members of Congress are more interested in their YouTube clicks than they are getting answers to legitimate questions."
From congressional hearings, which Gowdy once called less civil than some death penalty cases, to inaction from the Trump Administration and Congress, Washington appears to be just as dysfunctional as when he packed up and headed back to South Carolina.
"You're going to have inaction unless you make it painful for them to not act," Gowdy said. "And right now, they don't feel the pain."
See the full interview below: