Congress is in session this week for the final time this year before the election. I sort of shrugged this off as fairly typical for an election year, but it’s not. Usually, Congress stays in session until about a month before the election. Here they’re leaving with seven weeks to go. The do-nothing Congress has decided to double up on doing nothing.
And it’s not like there’s nothing to do:
The one must-pass piece of legislation — a bill to keep the government funded once the new fiscal year begins Oct.1 — is set for final approval this week in the Senate after having already cleared the House […]
“There’s been a lot of talk about the work that has not been done,” Hoyer said last week, noting the continued stalemate over the so-called fiscal cliff — the combination of tax hikes set to take effect in December and steep spending cuts in January that, analysts have said, could siphon so much money out of the economy it would prompt a new recession […]
Congress also may leave undone several other top items, including a farm bill that has been crucial for agricultural states hit hard by drought. Also unfinished is legislation that would provide reforms for the Postal Service, which has been dogged by financial shortfalls, and an extension of the Violence Against Women Act, a normally bipartisan bill that authorizes program funding for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
The lack of a farm bill, which I chronicled here, is particularly stunning, because it will only hurt those rural-state Congressmembers, the majority of whom are Republican. With crops already planted for the year, an expired farm bill may not have a significant impact for the rest of 2012. But it would generate a load of uncertainty going into 2013, with funding for crop-insurance programs expiring and the federal government forced to pay higher prices for crops, under a 1949 law to which the country would revert back.