Nervous about campaigns, Congress may leave early

Members of Congress hadn’t even come back to Washington yet before they started talking about leaving again-and sooner than scheduled.

Already, there’s not much time for Congress to rack up any big accomplishments, with just about four weeks between today’s official re-start date and the Oct. 8 target for adjournment. But with many incumbents increasingly jittery about the November elections and eager to get back home to campaign, there’s a push to shave off as much as a week of that already-crunched work period.

“I would rather be home, no question about it, for political reasons and family reasons,” said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, as he was driving from the airport in Washington to the Capitol.

But, Courtney added, if it seemed like Congress could really make progress on key bills, such as a small business lending measure now pending in the Senate or a health care proposal he’s hoping to push forward, then there is no reason to rush back to the campaign trail.

“If we’ve got a realistic chance of making progress on these bills, then I think our no. 1 task is to do our job down here and we’ll juggle our political” needs in between legislative responsibilities, he said.

Of course, Courtney is in a safer district than many of his Democratic colleagues, so don’t be surprised if his opinion doesn’t carry the day in D.C.