Congress Somehow Manages to Work Eight Grueling Days Before Going Home

Source: AP
Source: AP

After a draining eight days of work over the past few months, Congress is headed home — and won't be returning until after the November elections.

Sessions are often cut short during election season — how can anyone govern when there are stump speeches to give? — but this one was already abbreviated. As the Wire explains, this means Congress will have spent eight days working from the end of July through the middle of November.

In one of the least productive congressional eras in U.S. history, it's almost like they're not even trying anymore.

One last thing: That's not to say that nothing got done over those eight days. Both bodies managed to approve President Barack Obama's military strategy to deal with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, even if many of them were tentative about it.

That support was paired with a spending bill necessary for avoiding a government shutdown. The bill's inclusions and the subsequent debate were seen as harbingers of how lawmakers would approach larger immigration reform.

The spending bill, for instance, included more money for immigration detention centers and more flexibility for border patrol spending while leaving out extra funding to hire more judges and lawyers to lessen the backlog of immigration cases.

Congress also passed a more under-the-radar (but very important) bill to renew a program that helps local governments and police forces cut down on their rape evidence backlog, potentially pushing forward assault cases that are years old.

The reaction: Democrats were quick to poke fun at House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for calling things off early. The Wire rounded up a few Twitter responses from lawmakers:

He's a punter! OK, that's not the worst joke ever.

Ah, the sunglasses guy. That was an amusing thing on the Internet a few years ago.

No. Stop. Never come back, Congress.

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Matt Connolly

Matt has written for Mother Jones, the Washington Examiner and Chicago Public Radio among many others. He's a resident of Washington, D.C., but much like Bruce Springsteen and pork roll he is a product of New Jersey.

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