Congress is back in the capital for the fall and has its last chance to tackle significant legislative initiatives before 2008, a presidential election year when Congress is traditionally reluctant to take on anything controversial.
The majority Democrats know they want to do something about the Iraq war; they just aren’t sure what. Although Republicans continue to defect from President Bush on the war, the Democrats are still far short of enough support to override his veto. That pretty much eliminates meaningful timetables, that is, specific numbers of troops be withdrawn by specified dates.
The House and Senate must agree on extending a low-income children’s health insurance program, one hopes at a more reasonable cost than the lawmakers are now contemplating. And there is a farm bill that repeats the mistakes of previous farm bills only a much greater cost. On the spending bills to fund the government for next year, the Dems seem to have picked up the GOP’s bad habits: They are late and over budget.
Congress should finish up the boring, routine work that it has to do but tends to avoid. It will have all next year to play politics.