Congress is on a five-week recess, leaving behind an enormous pile of work, including critical bills that would provide farmers and ranchers relief from the awful drought and protect the nation’s infrastructure from cyber-attack.
Lawmakers will return in September, but for only about 13 days of work before the Nov. 6 elections.
Other matters that Congress left unfinished include the future of the George W. Bush tax cuts and of the U.S. Postal Service, which is in dire financial straits, and domestic violence legislation.
Congress has passed no appropriations bills, which keep the government running.
The delay on the farm bill turns largely on food stamps, which constitute 80 percent of the bill’s cost.
Republicans generally want to cut the program’s funding deeply to help reduce overall spending. Democrats will not agree, and Republicans can’t pass the measure in the Senate without Democratic support.
While the farm bill is held up, half the counties in the nation are eligible for federal disaster relief because of the drought.
The parched conditions have resulted not only in crop and livestock damage, but also in destructive wildfi res out west.
The cyber-security legislation would respond to a serious potential danger.
The bill’s objective is to reduce the vulnerability of the nation’s power grids, dams, and transportation infrastructure to a computerbased attack.
Unfortunately, the proposal has been severely watered down, in part at the behest of companies that consider the bill’s requirements too burdensome.
Lawmakers’ pitch to voters to re-elect them without finishing this vital work is a clear invitation to be turned out of office.
Some of the paralysis is caused by partisan wrangling.
Much amounts to irresponsibility and unwillingness to work together to do the people’s business.–Toledo Blade