WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ridiculed as the "do-nothing" 109th U.S. Congress, the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on Monday begin a brief session to wrap up whatever work they can, install a new defense secretary and approve money to prevent a shutdown of government services.IF the Republicans were a party of honorable men and women, they'd probably do just that: leave this stuff for the Dems to fix. They've screwed things up enough and the American people clearly have had enough. I'm not counting on it, tho.
The Republican-led Congress will meet only for about another week before drawing to a close -- as lawmakers prepare for the new 110th Congress set to convene on January 4 under Democratic control.
Having been blown out in the November 7 elections, Republican lawmakers are getting ready to hand over to Democrats some major unfinished business, led by what to do about the increasingly unpopular Iraq war.
Republicans are also leaving unfinished long-term government funding legislation, and appear unlikely to decide whether to extend popular tax credits that expired at the end of 2005.
Congress has failed to pass nine of the 11 annual bills that fund government activities in the fiscal year that began on October 1. Farm subsidies, education, health and law enforcement are among the programs without full-year funding.I'm not sure they should bother. Perhaps closing the government down and giving the Dems a fresh start to clean house would make more sense. Oh...but count on one partisan thing to be sure to get done this session:
To avert government shutdowns, two temporary spending bills have already been enacted. The latest expires on Friday and Congress is expected to pass a third stopgap funding bill that would keep U.S. agencies running through February 15.
A House ethics panel is poised to release a report on its investigation into former Rep. Mark Foley's sexually explicit electronic messages to teenage interns and what fellow Republicans knew about the matter.Right. After all, we wouldn't want the parties truly responsible to be held accountable. Which I think is what the November 7 election was all about.