• Clock Ticking for Congress When They Return
  • August 13, 2014
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • When Congress returns from their August recess in September, there are just 12 scheduled legislative days (and that number may be cut) before the Nov. 4 midterm election, which leaves precariously little time for Congress to tackle pressing issues. And talk of a lame-duck session after the election is murky at best.

    Much of the unresolved legislation in this Congress is significant, including dozens of tax breaks that expired in December and the full array of appropriations bills for the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1. Already, House Speaker John Boehner is teeing up action in September on a stopgap spending measure so that the government does not run out of money after September.

    Decisions are also needed on miscellaneous tariffs, terrorism risk insurance, the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, rechartering the Export-Import Bank, and perhaps re-upping long-term unemployment-insurance benefits.

    Congress has passed just 142 public laws since this two-year session began in January 2013—including 70 that became law this year. And that puts this House and Senate, as of August, on a trajectory to be the least-productive Congress for making laws since at least 1947, as far back as numbers go in the official "Resume of Congressional Activity," updated monthly in the Congressional Record.