The Republican “Do-Nothing” Congress strikes again. Looking toward the November mid-term elections, Majority Leader Eric Cantor has laid out an agenda for 2014 that makes it clear that Republicans still aren’t interested in getting anything done. With fewer legislative days scheduled than last year and a trimmed-down list of legislative goals, the “Do-Nothing” Republican Congress is now slated to do even less. From the New York Times:
“The ‘do nothing’ Congress is preparing to do even less. Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, is quietly playing down expectations for any major legislative achievements in the final year of the 113th Congress, which passed fewer laws in its first year — 65 — than any single session on record. The calendar, drawn up to maximize campaign time ahead of midterm elections in November, is bare bones, with the House in session just 97 days before Election Day, the last on Oct. 2, and 112 days in all.”
“Expectations for the session are so low that lawmakers say early action on White House priorities like raising the minimum wage, restoring unemployment benefits that expired and overhauling immigration laws are likely to go nowhere. …The chances are ‘relatively low in terms of the probability that truly substantive legislation will be advanced through the House,’ said Representative Scott Rigell, Republican of Virginia and a critic of Congress’s work pace. …”
“By playing it safe, House leaders hope to keep their rank and file from leading Congress into a conflagration like the 16-day government shutdown in October. …‘It’s pretty clear to me in the House, we don’t want to make ourselves the issue,’ said Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania. ‘What happened in the fall with the shutdown, that was an act of political malpractice. We will be very careful not to make those kinds of unforced errors again.’”
With a long list of challenges and legislative items in desperate need of action – like restoring emergency unemployment insurance, engaging in comprehensive immigration reform, and raising the minimum wage for American workers – it’s certainly not the time for Congress to slow down.