WASHINGTON — The nation’s capital is bracing for a long, hot summer, and that’s not even counting the weather.
The White House is immersed in allegations of scandal. Congressional Republicans are ensnared in their own divisions.
Instead of movement on health care, taxes and more, GOP control figures to produce a grim summer slog as lawmakers and the Trump administration grind it out into August and beyond.
That’s traditionally summer vacation time in Washington, D.C., when Congress goes on a five-week recess, and much of the rest of the town follows suit to escape the stultifying heat and humidity. President Barack Obama would embark on an extended annual visit to Martha’s Vineyard.
Not this year. With Republicans six months into full control of Congress and the White House but with practically nothing to show, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would stay in session an extra two weeks, into mid-August.
Whether results will improve remains to be seen. The Senate is currently tied in knots trying to produce the “Obamacare” repeal-and-replace bill Republicans have promised for years. Bunkered in the White House as Russia-U.S. election details unspool, President Donald Trump has not been seen for days, though he did grant an interview to the Christian Broadcasting Network to announce he’d be “very angry” if Congress fails to produce on health care.
Despite Trump’s low approval ratings and the relentless developments involving Russia’s election meddling — which now feature Donald Trump Jr. in a starring role — the president still commands loyalty from a significant slice of the GOP base. So few elected Republicans want to cross him by criticizing him over Russia, much less provoke his anger.
It’s all adding up to frustration, even misery, for Republicans who’ve seen their ambitions thwarted on many fronts. And the merciless summer slog may prove the fitting metaphor for an administration that’s brought stasis and dysfunction to new…