From National Catholic Reporter, a piece on the challenges facing the 113th Congress (with quotes from Bill O’Keefe, the senior director for advocacy at CRS):
The new Congress was sworn in to office Jan. 3 and President Barack Obama’s inauguration will be held Jan. 21. There is a Wells Fargo bank exactly halfway between the White House and the Capitol building, and it is easy to find. The question on everyone’s mind in D.C., however, is whether or not the Republican-controlled House will find a way to meet the president halfway politically on a range of issues facing the nation.
The fiscal cliff negotiations at year’s end were not promising. “If the last Congress was the do-nothing Congress, this one may well be the crisis Congress,” said Matthew Green, professor of politics at The Catholic University of America in Washington. “Automatic spending cuts will go into effect in just two months, and the debt limit will be breached in three. Debate over these deadlines will likely consume Congress’ time between now and then. And what do you want to bet that just before those deadlines go into effect, the House and Senate will avert an impending disaster by kicking the can down the road only a tiny bit further, then repeat the process in a few months’ time?”
Indeed, the difficulty reaching consensus that was just witnessed in the fiscal cliff negotiations may plague a host of other issues.
The article goes on to quote Bill O’Keefe, the senior director for advocacy at CRS:
“We are glad the Congress avoided the fiscal cliff, but we remain very worried about what will happen in March,” Bill O’Keefe, senior director for advocacy at Catholic Relief Services, said of the many unresolved budget issues.