Ordinarily we would be writing now about what Congress was hustling to get done before leaving town. This year Congress left town before doing very much.
The Seattle Times ticked off what departing federal lawmakers left dangling:
- A farm bill with provisions to aid farmers damaged by severe drought;
- A long-term transportation bill;
- Domestic violence legislation;
- Student aid; and
- Budget and tax measures to avoid plunging off the so-called fiscal cliff.
And that doesn't include anything that might qualify as job-creating legislation to speed economic recovery.
Instead, the 112th Congress has earned the epithet of a "do-nothing Congress." It could just as easily be the "blame the other guy" Congress.
So, the country is left to twiddle its thumbs — or wring its hands — for the next six weeks until the general election is over. Then congressional leaders say they will return to town and take up all the major issues it left undone.
A close presidential vote and continued split control of the U.S. House and Senate may not seem like much of a flash of light that illuminates how to unsnarl congressional gridlock. Perhaps, lawmakers have known all along what compromise would look like, but didn't want to tell anyone before they voted.