Speed Reads

get it together people

Congress is struggling to set and follow an agenda because they're distracted by Trump

In theory, Congress should be the driving force behind Washington's policy agenda, while the president, assigned to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," in most matters follows lawmakers' lead. In practice, Congress "kind of [has] attention deficit disorder," as Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said to Politico, and struggles more than ever to set and keep a legislative agenda in the age of President Trump.

Tracking Trump's quick movement from one issue to another, particularly on his Twitter account, has Congress as a whole distracted and unproductive even as individual legislators register their irritation. "It's unbelievable to me," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). "The attention span just seems to be ... it's a real problem." Absent a legal deadline with real consequences, like a government shutdown, many policy questions raised are simply never answered.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is among the few who seem immune to Trump's chaos, Politico reports, but he is presently using that discipline to process judicial appointments instead of addressing major issues of public debate, like immigration and gun policy.