In August, lawmakers will be heading home to their districts for the month's recess. Last summer, things weren't quite so calm.
A year ago at this time, Congress was in a nasty and protracted battle over whether to raise the debt ceiling. If they didn't make a decision, the government was going to go into default. It's a fight that cost Congress its already waning public support, and cost American taxpayers $1.3 billion.
A storm is brewing in Washington that could darken political debate for months to come. It's about the debt, the deficit, taxes and spending — all hot topics lawmakers have been fighting about for years now.
This time, though, there's a deadline, and the consequences of inaction would be immediate. That has many in Washington saying: Here we go again.
In the past week, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have begun a new round of sparring over the U.S. debt ceiling.
President Obama's limo in what was, in part, the world's most impressive lunch run, Washington, May 16, 2012.
Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
President Obama and congressional leaders lunched at the White House Wednesday on sandwiches the leader of the free world purchased during a visit to a Washington, D.C., eatery where he met earlier in the morning with a group of small-business people.
Descriptions of the White House lunch meeting from those on the opposing red and blue teams aware of the details of the discussion made it sound like yet another meeting featuring the nation's top policymakers that you could have accurately described beforehand.