Friday marks the last day of the congressional session before legislators adjourn for a five week recess. And that could lead to a lot of political activity in the nation’s Capitol. Our Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Erin Billups has more on what to expect.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Senate failed to gather enough votes to debate the Cybersecurity bill Thursday. It’s legislation that would address what many believe is the most imminent national security threat the country faces.
"Once again, the members of Congress have failed to come together to deal with a serious national problem," Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman said.
The business community opposed what it calls burdensome regulations in the bill.
Senate republicans who blocked the measure, say the left was trying to push the bill through prematurely.
"We could fashion a bill in September. There was no reason to have this vote today," said Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Cybersecurity is just one of several major pieces of legislation that now must wait to be considered after the five week recess. The Farm Bill, set to expire at the end of September, is another one.
"Frankly, I haven't seen 218 votes in the middle to pass the Farm Bill," House Speaker John Boehner said.
The House did pass a one year extension and another bill providing drought assistance to farmers. Both were rejected by the Senate, which is pushing for a long-term plan. Democrats, though, say the divisions are within the GOP.
"It's one issue after another that this Republican House cannot cope with because it's so divided," Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett said.
An agreement was reached, to keep Government running through March 2013, which avoids a drag-out budget fight during an election year.
"I'm glad we were able to work this out," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.
But the list of work left in limbo is still long. It includes an overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service, expiring tax cuts and the reauthorization of defense programs with an automatic $110 billion spending cut looming.
With only a few work days scheduled between September and the November elections, it's likely many priorities will get lumped into the lame duck session.
"It being a Presidential election year, what you're gonna see is very intense work between election day and December 31st," Long Island Representative Peter King said.