Sunday, August 30, 2015

The End of Silly Season is in Sight

I got a bit of a chuckle this week when Kevin Drum wrote: TGIAS: Finally, August is Almost Over. Those who have been suggesting that Trump-mania is at least in part fueled by the fact that there hasn't been much else to talk about are not completely wrong. But silly season is about to come to an ignominious end.

If you have any doubts about that - just look at the September calendar. Congress comes back into session this month and right off the bat, they'll have to tackle a vote on the Iran deal (it looks like Boehner will also throw in a vote in the House to block funding to Planned Parenthood - but since that already failed in the Senate, its all for show until government shutdown time arrives). The conversation about the Iran deal has shifted from whether or not President Obama will be forced to veto a show of disapproval to whether or not Republicans will have enough votes to override a filibuster. The countdown continues...

Right on the heels of that vote comes a visit to the United States by Pope Francis. That will provide quite a shift in the conversation. Of course we can expect a lot of his visit to focus on the need to act on climate change. But the Pope has also been outspoken on the issue of income inequality as well as immigration reform. He was instrumental in forging the opening between the United States and Cuba and has spoken out in support of the agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons. In summary:
Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic, said the pope's Sept. 23 visit will mark an important moment not only for Catholics but for all Americans.

"Pope Francis has breathed new life into what I believe is the central mission of our faith: Catholic social doctrine," Biden said in a statement to The Associated Press. Invoking key elements of Obama's agenda, Biden added that Francis "has become a moral rudder for the world on some of the most important issues of our time, from inequality to climate change."
The day after the Pope departs marks the opening session of the General Assembly at the United Nations. Scheduled to speak on the same day are: President Obama, Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China. No doubt that the eyes of the world will be on that stage.

While all of that is happening, Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner will have to be working on a way to pass a federal budget and avoid a government shutdown. They have until the end of September to do that.

So hold onto your hats. Things are about to get very interesting.

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