There’s a consensus in Washington that Congress has an enormous amount of work to do when it returns from its August recess. What is less discussed is that lawmakers have given themselves very little time to do it.
There is immigration reform. The debt ceiling. The budget. All could consume weeks of debate. But according to a schedule posted by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the House will be in session a grand total of nine days in September — and five of those are shortened work days.
There’s not much time between now and then, either. The schedule says the House will meet six more days this month (three of them shortened), and then all of two days in August (one shortened). That makes for a grand total of 17 days in which the House will meet between now and October 1.
There could be more action in October, when the House is scheduled to be in session a relatively grueling 14 days (six of them shortened). But lawmakers are set to meet just eight days in November (four shortened), and eight days in December (four shortened).
The bottom line is that it is entirely likely that some priority will be squeezed for time. Given the House Republican leadership’s determination to press for an advantageous resolution of the debt ceiling, it’s possible that immigration reform — an incredibly complex issue that has so far defied solution — might get the short end of the stick.