Republicans vacating the Capitol are dumping a big spring cleaning job on Democrats moving in. GOP leaders have opted to leave behind almost a half-trillion-dollar clutter of unfinished spending bills.
[..]The bulging workload that a Republican-led Congress was supposed to complete this year but is instead punting to 2007 promises to consume time and energy that Democrats had hoped to devote to their own agenda upon taking control of Congress in January for the first time in a dozen years.
The decision to drop so much unfinished work in Democrats' laps demonstrates both division within Republicans ranks and the difficulty in resolving so many knotty questions in so short a time. [..]Now, with the agenda shrinking, a session that will be the last for 45 retiring or defeated House members and senators should be wrapped up by Dec. 8.
[..]Driving the decision to quit and go home rather than finish the remaining budget work is a determined effort by a group of conservative Republicans to prevent putting a GOP stamp on spending bills covering 13 Cabinet Departments - and loaded with thousands of homestate projects derided as "pork" by critics. Read on...