Time Grows Short

It may not seem like it to you, but the days are growing short already in the Congress, as the clock ticks inexorably towards the November elections – and that was clear on Wednesday in the Congress.

House leaders notified lawmakers that there would be no votes on this Friday – which means that members of the House have just six work days left before Labor Day.

As in today, and next week.  Then they are off until September.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Democrats were fuming about the parliamentary run-around that they got, a day after they mustered 60 votes to invoke cloture and shut off debate on a bill extending jobless benefits.

Democrats evidently thought that Republicans would just roll over and allow a final jobless benefits vote on Tuesday, but they refused.

Under the rules, there are up to 30 hours of debate after a successful cloture vote, so in an election year, it shouldn’t have shocked anyone that the GOP would toy with Democrats for a bunch of that time.

“This latest move gives the partisan minority thirty more hours to stall in the Senate, but that means thirty more hours of suffering for these hardworking families trying to get by,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in a written statement.

But that didn’t mean the House stayed in late on Wednesday night to approve the jobless benefits bill.

Oh, no.  They adjourned before evening and decided to wait until Thursday morning, delaying final action even more.

“I must have missed GIbbs’ statement attacking Speaker Pelosi for “thirty more hours of suffering for these hardworking families,” said Don Stewart, Press Secretary to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.

If you are keeping score at home, Senators have one extra week of work on their schedule, so it is 12 work days until their break, which will last until September 13.

Democrats had talked about getting a war funding bill through for Afghanistan, but it may be that legislation will be held up for a few more days, and then jammed through the Senate next week.

Sort of fading away right now is talk about the Senate debating a major energy bill.  First, there isn’t enough time, and second, Democrats don’t seem to have 60 votes.

As the clock runs toward November.