As US lawmakers return to work on Monday after a five-week recess, they will push aside big issues to once again try to avert a government shutdown before Sept. 30, thereby holding off on issues that could trigger another recession.
This Congress is one of the most unpopular and unproductive in modern history, reaching an all-time low approval rating of 10 percent, Gallup found. Few tasks will get done between now and the November 6 election as lawmakers return to their home districts to campaign for their seats, Reuters reports.
“Everyone wants to get out of town – fast,” a top Senate aide told Reuters. Lawmakers may be around just long enough for a necessary spending bill to keep the government running, leaving behind much unfinished business.
The six-month temporary spending bill that finances the US government would give the next Congress time to create a full-year plan. Failure to agree on one could cause a government shutdown, which would decrease the 112thCongress’ approval rating at a crucial time before the election.
Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plan to introduce a spending bill this week. But after that measure is given attention, few other tasks are likely to be taken care of in the next two months.
One of the most urgent of these tasks is preventing a “fiscal cliff” in January as a result of tax increases and automatic spending cuts – but Congress is holding off on it until after the election. The Dec. 31 expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, combined with more than $100 billion in automatic spending cuts could trigger another recession if Congress doesn’t come up with a solution.