With the New Year coming up, you’re probably setting new goals for yourself. If being more productive is on your 2018 to-do list, then good news – most likely, you’re already more productive than this session of Congress.
Republicans want you to think that they left Washington for their holiday vacation with everything tied up in a neat holiday bow, but, nothing could be further from the truth. Before we say goodbye to the garbage fire that was Donald Trump’s first year in office, let’s take stock of a few things that Congress has delayed until their return in early January.
- Government Funding: Congress passed a short-term bill to continue funding the government until January 19th. If you’re already sick of the ‘Government Shutdown’ countdowns that seem to be ubiquitous on every cable news channel, then you’re out of luck. The early weeks of 2018 will undoubtedly be filled with coverage of the, once again, looming shut down.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program: You would think that health insurance for children would be the simplest of bipartisan votes, but nothing in this political climate is ever easy. Part of the government funding bill allowed for a CHIP allocation to stretch into early next year. However, some scholars are saying that at least half of state governments will run out of funding for CHIP by the end of January. Taking healthcare away from anyone isn’t a good look, but it is decidedly worse when those affected are low-income children. Just when it seemed like Congress couldn’t sink any lower.
- Disaster Relief: While the House passed $81 billion dollars in disaster relief funding, the Senate refused a vote on it until after the New Year, leaving those affected by tragic natural disasters to languish in limbo while the elected officials who supposedly represent them are able to enjoy their holidays in comfort. As of now, no date has been set for the Senate vote.
- Section 702 (FISA): In order to appease members of the House Freedom Caucus, who, along with Democrats, want stricter regulations on NSA foreign spying powers, GOP leaders have promised full debate on a standalone bill early next year. A short-term reauthorization was passed before the holiday, leaving Congress with another looming January 19th deadline. Apparently, Santa won’t be the only person who knows if you’re naughty or nice this holiday season.
- DACA/The Dreamers: It seems that there is nothing more typical of the Democratic Party than threatening big action, only to fold at the slightest resistance. For months, leaders have been promising that protection for the Dreamers would come by the end of the year. Yet, Congress is away on recess and nothing has been done. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising to bring the issue to the floor by the end of January, but only if bipartisan negotiators can reach an agreement beforehand. Once again, elected officials are left to enjoy their holidays while their antics and cowardice leaves millions spending the holidays in fear.
These are just a few of the issues that Congress has prolonged until after the New Year. Keep an eye out for possible action in the coming weeks. Or maybe for more delay tactics.