Congress had a busy week with the approval of a deal to raise the federal debt limit and cut the deficit, followed by a last minute agreement to pass a bill ending the partial closure of the FAA. CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing editor David Hawkings talks with WAMU Morning Edition Anchor Matt Bush about these actions, as well the abysmal approval rating numbers Congress received this week.
Prospects for a long-term FAA deal
The budget deal that funds the Federal Aviation Administration is just a temporary measure that will expire Sept. 16. Part of the FAA has been shut down since July 23, leaving construction projects stalled and nearly 4,000 FAA workers and contractors without paychecks.
But despite the last minute deal Friday, prospects for the larger agreement that will continue to fund the FAA after September are still dim, according to Hawkings. The temporary agreement expires just 10 days after Congress returns from summer recess.
"There's still this big philosophical standoff between Democrats in the Senate and Republicans in the House over organized union rules for airline workers," Hawkings says. "Unions and labor law gets partisan juices boiling as much as anything, so it should be tough to do."
Low approval rating plagues Congress
Polling number released this week showed that more than 80 percent of those polled disapprove of the way that members of Congress are doing their jobs.
"The poll shows, if nothing else, Congress needs to do more to show to the public it can do the simple things quickly, on time, in a bipartisan way," Hawkings says.
Members of Congress are likely to hear more about it from constituents during town hall meetings over the next month in their home districts.
"It's time to face their constituents, and these town meetings very rarely draw the undecided or the swing voter," Hawkings says. "They'll hear it from those guys, whether is big fans of the Congressman or the big detractor."
Naming names for the deficit reduction 'super committee'
Congressional leaders also have the next month to contemplate who they want to appoint to the bipartisan, bicameral 'super committee' that was formed by the debt limit legislation. The committee will be responsible for pinpointing $1.5 billion in deficit reduction by the end of this year, and be composed of six House members and six Senate members.
Those tasked with the committee will likely be senior members, but not necessarily the top leaders themselves, Hawkings says. Rep. Chris Van Holland (D-Md.) is one name that has been floated in the past few days.
"He sort of is the model of the type of person that will likely be chosen," Hawkings says. "The kind of person that knows the politics of the caucus, has the leadership's ear, and who is loyal the the leadership."
Alternatively, the likes of the Gang of Six -- six bipartisan Senators, including Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D), who during debt limit talks chose to try to strike out on their own outside of party leadership -- aren't likely to enjoy super committee status.
"Who we're not hearing about are people who have shown they want to stray from leadership orthodoxy," Hawkings says.