Speed Reads

what i did on my summer vacation

This proves just how painfully unproductive this Congress has been in its first 7 months

On Thursday, the Senate cast what is expected to be its last vote for the next five weeks, leaving the Republican-controlled Congress without any major legislative victories in the first six-plus months of the new administration. In fact, "the Senate has approved less than 10 bills this year that required a roll call," The Washington Post reports.

Most of the Senate's output consisted of approving Trump's nominations and the regulatory repeals, both of which required a simple majority on roll calls and little to no input from Democrats. [...] Last week's 98-to-2 vote imposing sanctions against Russia is the legislative highlight of the year, a bill the president did not even support but was forced into signing.

Another bill gave the Government Accountability Office a bit more investigative authority. Another granted a waiver allowing Jim Mattis to become secretary of defense despite retiring from active military service in 2013.

Another piece of legislation passed by the Senate, on a roll-call vote of 82 to 15, allowed for a historic steamboat, the Delta Queen, to be relocated to St. Louis. [The Washington Post]

On that note:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) argued that the U.S. is living with "a unique administration that really a lot of people didn't think would win. So this is a time frame that you can't really fairly measure against previous senators or governors who have been in the Oval Office." Others have argued to cancel August recess, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) claiming, "I don't believe the Senate should go home if we haven't done our job."