Avoid a government shutdown

There are only four days left for Congress to achieve what it has not accomplished during the year. We are no longer talking about significant legislation, like comprehensive immigration reform—expectations throughout this legislative session have been so low that preventing a government shutdown for mid-January would in itself be a great accomplishment. However, today, not even that is for sure.

Budget negotiations between the House of Representatives and the Senate are expected to obtain at least a cease fire, so that the threat of a federal crisis like the one in October is not left hanging over our heads during the holidays.

Let’s not even mention making major achievements like cutting the budget deficit and the volume of the debt. The goal is preventing another shutdown and even that is not for sure, until both chambers ratify the deal struck by negotiators.

This is just one of several pending issues in Congress that should be resolved in coming days. There is a series of legislation whose failure will have repercussions for Americans.

Pending legislation ranges from people who have been unemployed for more than six months—who will lose their benefits starting in January—to consumers who will see the price of milk rise considerably because of the deadlock over the farm bill.

Needless to say, other bills that are important (like immigration reform) or urgent (like measures to stimulate the economy) have fallen victim to the strong divisions that exist within the majority of the HouseouseHJHH. These internal differences led to the paralyzing inflexibility that characterized the 2013 session of this legislative body.

What is sad about all this is that the uselessness of Congress has made expectations so low that all that is left is expecting for the government to function. Shameful!