Members of Congress will return from their five-week recess next Monday and most political analysts say the American people should expect little-to-nothing to get done in Washington until after the November elections. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley admits it’s a sad indictment, but it’s also likely true.
Grassley says, “If the House is only going to be in session for eight days during September and if the Senate is going to adjourn at the same time the House adjourns, we’ll probably only be in session about 12 days and you just can’t get a lot done in those particular days, number of days, so it’s probably accurate.” In October, both chambers will adjourn again for a month of campaigning, prior to November 6th.
“We put off so much to get done in November and December, that I think it’s practically impossible to get it all done,” Grassley says. “If President Obama is re-elected, I think there will be a big push to get most of it done.” If Mitt Romney wins the White House, Grassley says, just about everything will be pushed forward into 2013 to give the new president the opportunity to present his economic program to Congress before Congress tries to act.
Grassley, a Republican, lays much of the blame for inactivity in the Senate on partisanship and Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Reid said in January the Senate would work on its 11 appropriation bills that are needed to keep government running, but then “reversed himself” according to Grassley, because there were so many “tough votes” coming up and Reid didn’t want the 23 Democrats up for re-election to have to take a stand.
Grassley says votes do need to be taken soon on two key areas, the farm bill and on what will end up being a continuing resolution to avoid a federal government shutdown.