They still have their largest majority in decades, but the Democrats have succumbed to paralysis in the closing days of the legislative session. Congress has yet to pass a budget or a single one of the annual spending bills. Plans to spur the economy with tax cuts await action. Senate Democrats, faced with a GOP filibuster, have now punted on immigration reform and repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military. Meanwhile, House Democrats have so little on their schedule that their first vote of the week is coming at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, when Americans are most of the way through their workweeks.
Among the items they'll consider: H.R. 1545, "Expressing support for designation of the week beginning on the third Monday in September as 'National Postdoc Appreciation Week.' " And: H.R. 4387, naming the building at 100 North Palafox St. in Pensacola, Fla., the "Winston E. Arnow Federal Building."
"Your schedule," Linda Scott of PBS remarked to Hoyer at Tuesday morning's meeting, "looks pretty light." She asked whether Democrats are "telling you they need to be back home, rather than naming post offices?"
"We always name post offices," Hoyer replied with irritation. "It's a worthwhile endeavor to do that, and people really do appreciate it, particularly when it's their name and their community."
The Democrats are unable to rally themselves around tax cuts for millions of Americans, and their leader is defending . . . postal namings. In fairness, they're not just talking about post offices: They're also talking about flags.
"On the floor we'll have the All-American Flag Act," announced Hoyer.
Over the past 20 months, Democrats have done a lot -- too much, the opposition says. But they don't want to talk about the achievements. The stimulus bill is unpopular; they're not getting credit for health-care legislation, financial reforms and many other accomplishments; and the spent majority can't limp out of town fast enough.