Congress Breaks For Recess Without Acting On These 5 Important Issues

Think of the most contentious, hot-button topics to plague the nation in the past few months. Angry yet? Members of Congress left important issues unsettled before leaving Washington for an inordinately long seven-week hiatus. The recess usually continues through August, but this year’s political conventions diverted lawmakers earlier than normal. Both the House and Senate will resume after Labor Day, once Republicans come back from Cleveland in support of Donald Trump’s presidential nomination, while Democrats “stand with her” at Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination during the week of July 25.

While it’s customary for Congress to take a summer recess, this year’s is much longer than normal and comes at a pretty bad time. The country is grappling with major problems, and our elected leaders went on vacation before doing anything about them. Instead of making some sort of amends so we can be the progressive society we wish to see in the world, lawmakers are going to sip their proverbial margaritas while we bite our nails.

Here’s a complete list of issues Congress left unresolved before breaking to play on the monkey bars for recess, some of which are pretty damn urgent and shouldn’t be cast aside and forgotten about for seven full weeks.

Funding To Limit The Spread Of The Zika Virus

After the $1.1 billion bill passed in May to brace for the virus’ entrance into the U.S., the Democratic Senate blocked it from moving forward, alleging Republicans botched the bill with politically charged provisions. The measure is especially crucial given that the heat in summer months may promote mosquito breeding, thus spreading the virus. When passed from mother to fetus, Zika can cause serious birth defects.

Legislation On Gun Control

Guns Sales Rise As Fear That Obama Will Change Gun Laws Persists
CREDIT: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The country is visibly shaken after the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history at an Orlando gay club recently. The Senate deliberated on a measure that would prevent suspected terrorists from accessing firearms, which failed because Republicans worry this would rob Americans of their due-process rights.

Funding For Planned Parenthood

Sen. Patty Murray Discusses Komen's Turnaround In Their Planned Parenthood Funding
CREDIT: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The ubiquitous women’s healthcare provider was denied funding from Medicaid after the House of Representatives failed to override President Obama’s veto of a bill that would defund the practice. For the eighth time. This continues to widely limit immediate and safe access to abortion, birth control, and cancer screenings, especially in central states that lean Republican or pro-life.

Legislation To Combat Opioids And Prescription Drug Addiction

FTC Fines Diet Pills Makers For False Claims
CREDIT: David McNew/Getty Images

In 2014, 28,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses. Both Democrats and Republicans (almost) unanimously supported The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act President Obama signed Friday in an effort to prevent that number from growing. The act all sounds great on paper, but here’s the catch: Republicans in Congress didn’t supporting it financially, even though President Obama proposed to invest $1.1 billion in recovery programs. So, it’s pretty much dead air.

Provisions To Enhance Airport Security

TSA Debuts Full Body Imaging Screeners At O'Hare Airport
CREDIT: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Senate passed a bill to shorten airport lines and boost security through tighter staff screening, which, in the wake of fatal Brussels and Istanbul airport attacks, is a strong start. But the issue now is that congressional Republicans are pushing to privatize air traffic control. Higher flight prices would fund the initiative and it would also mean lost wages for workers in the aviation industry. House Democrats oppose the bill since it would relegate the Department of Defense to an advisory role.

Congress has its work cut out for it once members return from watching this shitshow of an election transpire.