Holiday Sausage-Making on Capitol Hill

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Last night, the Republican House passed a bill extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance. An hour later, the Senate's Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, called it "dead on arrival." Deadline gamesmanship is under way in both houses of Congress. Bills that "must pass" before the holiday recess are loaded with so-called "poison pills." Other matters being held hostage include unemployment benefits and appropriations to keep government agencies open. Both parties are playing the game, with the President threatening vetoes and saying that, "nothing gets done until everything gets done." Can Congress accomplish its basic work in time to go home for Christmas? What's the price of dysfunctional government in the long term?




Warren Olney