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You may recall that Congress spent all of August on vacation, taking a break from the hard grind of getting nothing done in order to get nothing done in a less official capacity. Their inability to get things done has already left a pile of crises to be worked out, things like "having a budget" or "keeping government running," but the congressional dedication to not getting things done is much, much stronger than any silly notions of actually working on those things. So after a five week recess, Congress worked three and a half days before calling it quits and going home again.
Every September tends to be busy for lawmakers. But this month looked to be even more hectic than usual with Syria on the front burner, government funding set to run out, the dreaded debt-ceiling deadline looming and the two chambers yet to renew a five-year farm bill or pass a budget.
That made it all the more head-scratching that by midday Thursday, lawmakers were preparing to flee Washington — if they hadn’t done so already. At her weekly press conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made sure to take note of Congress’s light schedule. With the House returning on Tuesday, the lower chamber was set to have a longer weekend than work week.
I wonder if Republicans hate government workers so much because they assume all of them are just as stone cold lazy as they are. Keep in mind that the House Republicans have another two week vacation coming up 10 days from now, and while there are the usual threats that they may have to cancel it to get things done I'd wager there's probably a higher likelihood of Michele Bachmann stealing a blimp and running it into the Statue of Liberty than of that happening.
As has been the case for years, the problem in the Senate is the now-routine procedural slow walking bills merely for the partisan sake of it (Ahem, Mr. Vitter). The problem in the House is that the speaker has so lost control of his caucus that the body is losing even the ability to come up with things to credibly vote on; this week even saw a simple continuing resolution to keep the government running nixed after the crackpot brigade demanded that anti-Obamacare elements be attached to even that. After trundling along in sequestration (yes, still) we appear to be headed for government shutdown this year not over deep divisions between the parties but merely because the Republican leadership does not want to give their own members a sad.
The article is full of the usual outrage by various members of government that nobody is doing anything, though Rep. Peter Welch seems to put it the best:
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) pointed to what he believed was the culprit of Congress’s problems: a “cage-fight spectacle” within the Republican Party.
“Democrats are just bystanders, we’re just observers,” he said. “We’re not enjoying what we’re seeing.”
And that's the difference between comedy and tragedy. Comedy is watching Republican leaders drunkenly stumble their way around town, every once in a while running nose first into a lamppost. Tragedy is when we've given them the keys to the car and we're all riding in the back seat.
Originally posted to Hunter on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 11:44 AM PDT.