The Senate adjourned and left Washington for the campaign trail on Saturday, leaving such important matters as the farm policy, budget and taxes and legislation to save the Postal Service from liquidation for the postelection session.
The House had adjourned Friday afternoon, marking a historic moment, as the lower legislative house of the US Congress had not skipped Washington this early before the general election in more than 50 years.
A recent Associated Press article, some would agree, rightly calls the current Congress “the most partisan, least productive Congress in memory.”
With the last vote entered by Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder at 12:12 pm Friday, all the House members left Washington with some major work left uncompleted. The issues of fiscal deficit, automatic spending cuts and tax hikes were left unresolved as lawmakers went home for re-election. Also, left in halfway was a farm bill, which couldn’t move forward due to opposition from the conservatives, who argue that it does not cut farm subsidies and food stamps enough.
Condemning the act, the House Democrats accused the Republicans for “cutting and running when America needs them the most.
"This is simply irresponsible, and Republicans ought to come back and finish their work, not cut and run and walk away from the American people," House Minority Whip said at the event, "Shame on them, shame on them for abandoning our farmers, our economy, and families that need us to act."(D-MD)
The adjournment will now require the Congress to work more during the time between the election and the inauguration of the next Congress than in any other postelection sessions in the past five decades. The so-called “fiscal-cliff” comprising of issues the Congress needs to resolve can take the US economy back into a recession if no step is taken immediately, economists say.
The GOP-controlled House has seen its approval rating sink by 13 points, according to a Gallop poll earlier this month, which is the lowest any House has ever experienced during an election year. The House, along with the Democratic Senate, has managed to pass just 173 new laws under Obama. While more are expected to come after the election, the current figure is half the output of a typical Congress.
Congress’ lack of productivity is highly attributed to a divided government and some bitter partisanship. Instead of dealing with issues by working together, there appears to be no compromising by either side.