Senate cancels August recess! Awesome productivity ensues!

Senate cancels August recess! Awesome productivity ensues!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Summer in Washington, D.C. Ninety-degree heat. Ninety-five percent humidity. Crowds. Bumper-to-bumper traffic. A flurry of Congressional activity in June and July, and then August recess.

When Congress leaves town, and school is out, the soul-crushing D.C. traffic eases for a few weeks.

Except this year, we can’t even look forward to that short traffic break.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cancelled recess, and decided that the Senate will stay in session for the first three weeks of August.

Does this portend a breakthrough in Congressional productivity? Will spending bills be passed and signed into law before Oct. 1?

Imagine, no more government shutdowns and continuing resolutions!

I wish it were so.

No, dear reader, three additional weeks in session will most likely result in less Democratic Party fundraising back in their home states for the Senators who are up for reelection in the November mid-terms.

Additional time in session may allow confirmation of more judges and executive branch appointees. This is a political move, not a productivity move.

Senator McConnell cites the “historic obstructionism” of the Senate Democrats in slowing progress in the Senate, so he is keeping the Senate in session to catch up on its work.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he welcomes the opportunity, and hopes to work across the aisle using the additional days in session to shore up healthcare.

While these shenanigans continue, Labor Day will soon arrive. The September headlines will suddenly feature the dwindling legislative days remaining until Fiscal Year 2018 funding runs out, and the pressing need for a continuing resolution.

Congress will kick the can down the road for 90 days, and 37 days into that 90-day stretch, on Nov. 6 – the midterm elections will occur.

If the Republicans retain control of the House and the Senate, there might be a defense appropriations bill passed by the December recess, just in time for Christmas.

If the Democrats succeed in flipping control of the House, the Senate or both, the lame duck Congress will kick the can down the road again so that the new majorities can set their own priorities starting in January.

And that will mean no defense appropriations bill before March or April. Again.

So … enjoy your summer.

Keep your eye on what gets accomplished in the August non-recess. Maintain hope for increased productivity and a defense appropriations bill passed by Oct. 1.

However, we have been down this road many times before.

Congress has not inspired confidence in their ability to do their most fundamental task of funding our military on time.

This is also known as “professional malpractice.”

For shame.

See you on the high ground.