A "Do-Nothing" Senate?

The Senate is planning to adjourn this weekend, giving those Senators seeking reelection over a month off to campaign. This is quite early. Indeed, as noted on ConfirmThem, this will be the earliest the Senate has adjourned in an election year in thirty years (if not more). Congress maven Norman Ornstein further observes:

This Congress hit the ground stumbling and has not lifted itself into an upright position. With few accomplishments and an overloaded agenda, it is set to finish its tenure with the fewest number of days in session in our lifetimes, falling well below 100 days this year.

This new modern record is even more staggering when one realizes that more than 25 of those days had no votes scheduled before 6:30 p.m., making them half- or quarter-days at best. The typical workweek in Congress (when there is a week spent in Washington) starts late Tuesday evening and finishes by noon Thursday. No wonder satirist Mark Russell closes many of his shows by telling his audiences what members of Congress tell their colleagues every Wednesday: "Have a nice weekend."

Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing. I am generally sympathetic to the view that Americans are safer when Congress is out of session. On the other hand, there are matters worthy of further Congressional consideration, from the detainee-treatment and NSA surveillance legislation (which may well keep Congress in schedule later than its leadership had planned) to the confirmation of federal judges (some of whom have been waiting, literally, for years).