If it seems like it’s silly season again in Washington, maybe that’s because it is. Congress can take a bow.

The GOP struggled mightily  to find a suitable House speaker, then settled on an election-results denier who likes to talk about the “so-called separation” of Church and State. It may be 2023, but it feels more like 1823.

Meanwhile, having narrowly averted a government shutdown, it appears Congress is going to come through this time. As for the leading candidates for the presidency, it’s probably best to avoid a review of each one’s extensive shortcomings.

So it was certainly refreshing to hear a well-informed, articulate, policy-driven leader talk at the NIC Fall Conference. I’m referring to former House Speaker Paul Ryan. You may or may not agree with his politics, but at the very least he seems to have a policy-driven perspective — and clearly cares about the nation’s future direction.

One of his most encouraging points for skilled care operators was his belief that Congress could reach an agreement to prevent a federal staffing mandate. Of course, given the current political climate,  getting Congress to agree on whether zebras have stripes would be a major accomplishment.

Ryan also noted that we need good, smart immigration laws as a way to help alleviate worker shortages in long-term care and elsewhere.

Agreed, but it should be noted that one man’s “good,” and “smart” can be another man’s fighting words. Frankly, there are many parts of this country where it would be political suicide for a lawmaker to support fewer barriers to US entry, under any circumstances.

Entitlement reform was another point Ryan raised. Which, I suppose, amounts to another way of suggesting future spending reductions for programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.

Given the fiscal condition of the treasury and the money available for these noble causes, suggesting a fix seems like common sense. But the political reality is that suggesting any adjustments is even more politically dangerous than advocating for immigration reform.

The truth is, his message, if enacted, would be inconvenient for many, and painful for many more. Telling people what they don’t want to hear rarely leads to a long career in politics. Small wonder so many lawmakers now seem far more interested in trivial pursuits.