Democratic Congress Done for the Year?

A Capitol Hill source tells me that House Republicans are starting to hear that the 110th Congress may be just about done. Word is that once Democrats return to Washington in September, they may quickly complete their remaining work and then adjourn.

According to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (whose job it is to oversee the legislative calendar), Democrats are planning to work until the end of September. That won’t be enough time to complete any major work, but there’s not much left to be done. Democrats have already punted on all 13 of the annual appropriations bills, opting for an extended continuing resolution instead. Speaker Pelosi talks bravely of another stimulus bill, but anything that makes it through Congress is veto bait. There’s some significant tax legislation to pass, but it can be completed quickly once Democrats get their troops in line. A comprehensive energy bill? Forget it! There’s nothing else Speaker Pelosi wants to do until Barack Obama is in the White House.Word is that Democrats are kicking around the idea of simply completing work on the CR and other minor bills, and then adjourning for the year. This would allow their candidates to focus on their campaigns, end the attention to the ineffective Congress, and allow Barack Obama to become the face of the Democratic party months before the election.

On the downside, it would signal to the American people that the Democratic leadership of Congress has no intention to actually try to tackle the day-to-day problems of the American people. So in that sense, at least an early adjournment would have the virtue of being true to the reality of the situation.