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Friday, August 02, 2013

Congress stampedes the exits for Aug. recess, leaving the nation’s problems to smoulder

Vintage postcard depicting buffalo stampede
Politico: The government shuts down Sept. 30. The farm bill isn’t done. The appropriations process is in shambles. Immigration reform is stagnant.

And Congress is heading for the exits.

Thetensions on Capitol Hill are high, as legislative achievements are low.

The anger, frustration and disappointment was exposed after the House Republican leadership pulled a transportation spending bill from the floor this week because funding levels were too high for some, too low for others. Instead of recalibrating, House Republicans moved onto a series of bills aimed at stopping what they consider government abuse — legislation that dovetails with their August messaging.

Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa), the chair of the subcommittee that wrote the bill, stood up at a Wednesday afternoon meeting and yelled at attendees — including his best friend, Speaker John Boehner — “this is bullshit,” referring to leadership pulling his bill without warning.

Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), so frustrated by the stymied pace of spending bills, said he won’t pen a year-long continuing resolution, and his committee will not vote for it. The House has passed just four of 12 appropriations bills.

As Congress leaves town for a five-week recess, it faces no shortage of unsolved challenges. There is no clear strategy for funding the government beyond Sept. 30 and lifting the debt ceiling, the two fiscal fights looming in the fall.
According to Politico reporter Ginger Gibson, Nancy Pelosi said sarcastically, “We have to go home by noon on Friday because we have nothing else to do."

No wonder Congress is literally less popular than root canals, cockroaches, North Korea, or lice.

[image via UpNorth Memories - Donald (Don) Harrison]

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