Even small ball too much for Congress

Even small ball too much for Congress

By: Darren Samuelsohn and David Nather
January 22, 2014 05:01 AM EST

From left, clockwise: Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi are shown in this composite. | AP Photos

Everybody knows that Congress can’t do anything big any more – but it turns out Capitol Hill is equally hapless about getting the small stuff done as well.

All the dysfunctional partisan gridlock keeping the House and Senate worlds apart on the transcendent issues of the day also means little progress on the no-brainers, like technical corrections and minor fixes to Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. Revamping the nation’s energy policies with low-hanging fruit proposals championed by both Democratic and GOP lawmakers are stuck, too.

It’s a broken government with messy consequences. Absent action from Congress, the Obama administration is stuck navigating a maze of murky statutes and crafting regulations ripe for lawsuits. A glance at recent Supreme Court and federal appellate court dockets underscores what happens when inertia rules in the House and Senate.

(PHOTOS: Senators up for election in 2014) Continue reading “Even small ball too much for Congress”

House GOP Prepares Fallback Plan to Avoid January Shutdown

House GOP Prepares Fallback Plan to Avoid January Shutdown

As the budget conference committee continues to work toward an agreement that would set spending levels for the remainder of this fiscal year and fiscal 2015, House Republicans are contemplating a fallback plan: a short-term continuing resolution that would fund the government through April 15 and buy budget negotiators more time to strike a long-term deal.

According to multiple lawmakers familiar with the situation, budget negotiators in both parties are hopeful that the foundation for a long-term deal could be laid in December. But the details almost certainly won’t be solidified before Dec. 13, the deadline for the conference committee to report an agreement—and the day lawmakers leave town for the holiday recess.

At the same time, the current government-funding bill expires Jan. 15, and House members don’t return to Washington until Jan. 7.

Continue reading “House GOP Prepares Fallback Plan to Avoid January Shutdown”