WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress accomplished relatively little in a short work period, missing deadlines on the budget and on helping Puerto Rico with its financial crisis as lawmakers began a weeklong break.
They left behind few clues about how they would address must-do items such as finding money to counter the Zika virus and a second, even scarier July 1 deadline for averting a fiscal disaster in cash-strapped Puerto Rico.
Democrats called upon House leaders to modify this spring's three-weeks on, one-week off legislative schedule to keep working, as Puerto Rico hurtles toward a half-billion-dollar default on Sunday.
"It's very, very hard to get anything done if you are a drive-by Congress," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday. "We're barely here. And these deadlines are coming." Hours later, however, Democrats joined Republicans in sprinting for the Capitol's exits.
Over the past month, the Senate finally passed a major energy bill — the first in nearly a decade — and made progress on providing help for Flint, Michigan, which is grappling with a water contamination crisis from lead pipes. But an effort to revive the moribund process of passing more than $1 trillion worth of annual spending bills ran aground, while talks on a $1 billion-plus measure to fight Zika are looking less promising than previously hoped.
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