Friday, February 18, 2011

Despite Rapidly Approaching Deadline, GOP Leadership Schedules A Week Off

As we're rapidly approaching the March 4th deadline for passing the continuing resolution that would fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, there are a lot of people who are worried we'll see a government shut down. Despite the fact that there's still a lot of work that needs to be done to reach a compromise, here's what the schedule for the House of Representatives looks like next week.

That's right, the House won't be in session. I've had several staffers on the Hill tell me that they've seen an increase in constituent emails and phone calls since debate on the budget began, so I surely thought this was just a glitch in the website. After all, the GOP had promised America during the 2010 campaign season that they would address spending and job related issues. When you combine the campaign promises with how the increased communication shows that people were passionate about the current debate, after all, you'd think House would be working hard on a topic that their constituents care about. I contacted senior staffers, however, and was told that "the word from the House GOP leadership" is that they still won't be in session.

Of course, the way things currently work, Members of Congress won't have their personal pocketbooks impacted by a government shutdown (though Rep. Jim Moran is working to correct that). When you combine that with how some Republicans appear to believe having the government shutdown is a good political strategy, I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised that the GOP wants to have a legislative break right before such a crucial deadline.

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