WASHINGTON — Republicans and Democrats in Congress who congratulated themselves for passing relatively routine legislation before July 4 are returning to the Capitol for a summer stocked with political show votes and no serious role for bipartisanship.
Any thought of compromise on major issues — taxes, spending, deficit control or immigration among them — will have to wait until after the election or the new year.
So, too, with a farm bill. It cleared the Senate on a bipartisan vote and is now at risk for becoming sidetracked in the House in the run-up to this summer's presidential nominating conventions and the Nov. 6 election.
To pass the legislation, "I've got to work with my leadership. I've got to work with my members. I've got to work with the minority (Democrats). I've got to work with my friends in the Senate. I'm having a lot of fun," Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, told reporters with more than a trace of sarcasm several days ago.
In the interim, the House Republican leadership intends to force a vote this coming week on a repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law, recently upheld by the Supreme Court in a ruling that said the law imposes a tax on anyone who fails to purchase insurance.
Also in the pipeline is a measure to stop major new federal regulations from taking effect until joblessness recedes nationally, possibly to 6 percent from the current 8.2 percent.
Another item on the Republican to-do list for July is a measure to extend all of the tax cuts due to expire at the end of the year, including the reductions on wealthier income earners, which Obama and most Democrats want to let lapse.