Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Slow Progress in Democratic House

CQ notes that Democrats must soon waive the Budget Act in order to take their traditional July 4th break. The Act requires the House to have passed all the regular appropriations bills for the coming fiscal year, or return to Washington after just 3 days.

CQ says that the rule is waived frequently -- which is true -- but the last time it was not waived was just 2 years ago -- when the GOP ran a 'do-nothing' Congress. It's obviously not a big deal, just one more thing to remember when Democrats crow about how much better they are running the Congress than the GOP did:

Tucked into the 1974 Budget Act (PL 93-344) is a rule that prevents the House from taking more than three days off during the July Fourth recess unless all appropriations bills have been passed for the next fiscal year.

Normally, that would present a tricky problem. But as it often does with bothersome rules, the House typically waives the budget provision, leaving members free to enjoy a week or more off during the nation’s Independence Day celebrations.

That’s likely to be case this year. The July Fourth recess is only two weeks away, and the House has passed only two out of the 12 appropriations measures for fiscal 2008: Homeland Security (HR 2638) and Military Construction-VA (HR 2642).

It wasn’t so long ago, though, when the House got its appropriations work done before the July recess. That was in 2005, when the House passed all 11 of the 2006 spending measures in May and June.

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