Monday, May 21, 2018

Congress breaks for 5 weeks, but much work undone

WASHINGTON — Congress' performance matches its approval rating — abysmal.

Lawmakers headed home for a five-week break with a lengthy list of uncompleted work and little to show for the past year and a half except an eye-popping amount of dissatisfaction: Nearly 80 percent of Americans are unhappy with them. The Republican-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate have set record lows for production and record highs for dysfunction.

Partisanship and election-year politics have left a drought-stricken nation wondering if new help will ever come and the U.S. Postal Service uncertain about its solvency. Some $110 billion in automatic, across-the-board cuts are due to hit military and domestic programs on Jan. 2, yet no bipartisan solution is in sight or even under discussion by those who really matter.

At the same time, President George W. Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans expire, threatening to send a sluggish economy right back into recession.

Congress stumbled out of Washington for a five-week vacation a day early on Thursday on a typical note: a GOP filibuster in the Senate of a bipartisan cybersecurity bill and the House's abandonment of a one-year extension, as Republican leaders had planned, of food and farm policy.

Senate Republicans were unhappy about being denied a chance to amend the cybersecurity bill. House Republicans were unable to find party unity on food stamps and farm subsidies

The House settled for a paltry restoration of expired disaster programs for livestock producers and tree farmers. The Senate wouldn't do even that, demanding a full five-year farm bill with 80 percent of it, or about $400 billion, devoted to food stamps.

More broadly, just 151 laws have been enacted in 19 months; more than two dozen of them were to rename post offices and courthouses, or to add individuals to the Smithsonian board. By comparison, the previous Congress enacted 383 laws with President Barack Obama in the White House and Democrats controlling Capitol Hill.

A poll last month by CBS News and the New York Times found Congress with a 12 percent approval rating and 79 percent disapproval score.

Comments

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4We have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiments expressed on Facebook during...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Company that spilled fertilizer at Tampa port says not as much hit the water

Company that spilled fertilizer at Tampa port says not as much hit the water

The company that on Friday reported spilling 2 tons of fertilizer into a channel feeding into Tampa Bay says now that the amount was far smaller — 200 pounds, at most.Both Kinder Morgan, which spilled the fertilizer, and the state Department of Envir...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
There’s a new ‘Bachelorette’ contestant from St. Petersburg

There’s a new ‘Bachelorette’ contestant from St. Petersburg

When ABC’s reality dating competition The Bachelorette returns next week, the pool of 28 contestants vying for love and roses from Becca Kufrin will include a fitness trainer who lives in St. Petersburg.Here’s what we know about 25-year-o...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
State softball: Academy at the Lake romps in long-awaited semifinal

State softball: Academy at the Lake romps in long-awaited semifinal

VERO BEACH — On a day when the weather at the state softball tournament finally said yes, Academy at the Lakes pitcher Alexis Kilfoyl said no to Lake Worth Christian.The hard-throwing right-hander fired a no-hitter in a Class 2A semifinal Monday morn...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Editorial: Work on the broad areas where Americans, those who own guns and those who don’t, agree

Editorial: Work on the broad areas where Americans, those who own guns and those who don’t, agree

e_SSLqThe worst school shooting since ... February." The sentence jumps off the page of a news story in the aftermath of the murder of eight students and two teachers at Santa Fe High School in Texas. It has been only three months since a gunman kill...
Updated: 1 hour ago
GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

At least one gas price tracker expects rising fuel prices to sharply curtail summer travel. In a recent survey by GasBuddy.com, just 58 percent of motorists surveyed said they would take a road trip this summer, down 24 percent from last year. Just u...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former Admiral Farragut star Craig Watts leaves USF

Former Admiral Farragut star Craig Watts leaves USF

Bulls redshirt sophomore DB Craig Watts Jr., who practiced behind starting nickel back Ronnie Hoggins this past spring, has transferred to Division II Valdosta State, his father confirmed Monday.Watts, deemed a four-star prospect by at least four maj...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida Department of Education prepares rules to govern scholarships for bullied students

Florida Department of Education prepares rules to govern scholarships for bullied students

Families of children who have been bullied or harassed in a Florida public school soon will have access to state scholarships to attend private schools instead.But first, the State Board of Education must set the rules for how the controversial "Hope...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bill Nelson gets national help in the battle for Florida’s airwaves

Bill Nelson gets national help in the battle for Florida’s airwaves

Buried so far in TV ads from Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Bill Nelson is finally getting some help.Senate Majority PAC said Monday it will spend $2.2 million on an ad in multiple markets across Florida. It's a bio piece that begins, "He served his coun...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Here are some of Harry and Meghan’s official wedding photos

Here are some of Harry and Meghan’s official wedding photos

LONDON — Kensington Palace has released three official wedding photographs taken of Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle shortly after their wedding.Alexi Lubomirski's images include a family portrait of the couple with Queen Elizabeth II,...
Updated: 1 hour ago