An editorial / By Dale McFeatters
Scripps Howard News Service
November 15, 2006
A strong focus on the task at hand is probably too much to expect. However, Democrats likely will be preoccupied with planning for their takeover in January, and the Republicans probably don't much care anymore.
Artist Jeff Parker, Florida Today
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Bush left Tuesday for an Asian economic conference and it would be a useful gesture of support for the president, who, let us not forget, is still in charge of U.S. foreign policy for the next two years, if Congress passed a pending bill normalizing trade relations with Vietnam and a civil nuclear treaty with India.
The lawmakers should also extend a package of expiring tax breaks - R&D credits, deductions for tuition and sales taxes. There is little disagreement over the tax breaks but they never got passed because of partisan gamesmanship over the estate tax and minimum wage. Those issues can be put over to next year.
What should not be put over until next year, but sadly might be, are 11 of the 13 spending bills necessary to run the government for the current fiscal year that Congress couldn't bring itself to pass by the September deadline. The lawmakers did pass defense and homeland security funding measures but the bills that fund the entire rest of the government, $460 billion altogether, remain un-passed.
However, it is said that Republicans are considering a continuing resolution, which allows the government to continue spending at last year's levels, until January, effectively dumping the whole mess into the lap of the Democrats.
This really would be an abdication
of responsibility. But the Republican-led Congress has done this
kind of thing before and Tuesday paid the price for it. Democrats
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