Congress Gets Back to Doing What it Does Best: Nothing

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The past two weeks of party conventions and all of the speeches, dresses, and dazzle that politics and politicians have enjoyed are now over, and now our elected representatives will finally roll up their sleeves and get to what we pay them for: hearings which will get nothing done, bills eliciting meaningless votes, and a possible adjournment. Politico's Scott Wong has the rundown of the hollow hearings and meaningless votes that Congress has scheduled today:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) will hold an oversight hearing this week titled: The Obama Administration’s Abuse of Power ... Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will continue to push a central plank of the Romney-Ryan campaign: a vote to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law ... Democrats will engage in the game, too, putting up jobs bills that have no Republican support and little chance of passing.

None of those measures, as Wong notes, have any consequences or any actual weight. In fact, there's so much nothing being accomplished in Congress, two of Congress's most visible leaders, McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, had time to write opinion pieces in Politico about the nothingness they plan to achieve (and blaming the other side for blocking even that). "[T]he Senate, under Democratic leadership, expected to pass any other regular appropriations bill this year — actions previously viewed as routine as turning on the lights..." writes McConnell. While Reid counters with his own explanation of why Congress can't do anything: 

Yet ever since Barack Obama took office, Republicans have done little but obstruct and delay. The Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, made his plans clear when he declared that his “single most important” goal was defeating the president — not creating jobs or helping the middle class.

But on the bright side, all this fighting and explaining about why nothing's getting done might even not last that long. Unfortunately it isn't due to some magical compromise fluttering on the horizon. It's vacation.  "At least one chamber — the Democratic-led Senate — could adjourn as early as Sept. 21 for another seven-week recess, coming on the heels of the five-week August recess," writes Wong. 


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.