Temp member of Congress might have nothing to do

In April we told you that, yeah, that election for the one-month job in Congress might seem like it costs a lot of money, but at least there will be a lot to do. Surely there would be a lame-duck session so Congress could finish the work it was unwilling to do before the election.

Now there is a push, perhaps a quixotic one but a push nonetheless, to not have that lame-duck session. Three Senators are urging House leadership to get a budget passed in August or October, which would essentially make a lame-duck session unnecessary.

“Should Republicans fail to do this, Americans can expect another carefully choreographed crisis that will needlessly take government to the brink of a shutdown, without concern for voters, consumers and businesses that desperately need stability amid these fragile economic times.” — South Carolina Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, all Republicans.

George Behan, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, said the congressman would like to see a budget passed before August, too. “Norm believes it would be good for our economy if we got together,” Behan said.

It seems unlikely. A year ago Congress had three different proposals they could have at least accepted as frameworks for budget agreements and failed, Behan said. The guts of any of those could be used again, but “Politically it’s hard to imagine that happening.”

Many Republicans have pledged to not do anything that hints of raising taxes and Democrats are saying they’ll let all the Bush tax cuts expire, a pretty fair piece of leverage, Behan said.

It’s those tax cuts that are part of what an end-of-year session would likely address. A representative from the current 1st Congressional District could, in theory, be an important single vote.

If Congress doesn’t meet after the election, well, someone either gets to brag about being in Congress for a month or gets a head start on the other new members.

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