The congressional calendar is full of issues and bills that have the potential for strife. The budget has been a subject over which the two houses — and two political parties — have fought bitterly in recent years, and this year’s debate might include an attempt to increase spending for defense.
Over the summer, the debt ceiling will need to be raised again and the federal Export-Import Bank’s charter will expire.
Health care remains a big issue, and the House is working on a “fix” for the Medicare reimbursement formula. The Senate has considered a human-trafficking bill. Patent legislation, trade deals, tax reforms and infrastructure funding will all likely get discussion.
For many of these, there’s hope for compromise. There’s hope that budgets will pass and keep the government funded.
But there’s something standing in the way: the way Congress does business.
Former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Democrat, and former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican, who both represented Indiana for more than 30 years and now operate the Indiana University-affiliated Center on Congress and The Lugar Center, respectively, recently discussed several reasons Congress might run into trouble in the coming months, much of it self-inflicted.