Opinion

Our Voice: Enough talking; Congress needs to finish something

Congress needs to get cracking.

This two-week speed session was scheduled so the House and Senate could tackle key business items and then return home so members up for re-election could campaign.

The primary agenda was not a complicated one. Congress needs to extend the charter for the Export-Import Bank, as well as allocate temporary funding to keep government agencies running and avoid a shutdown like last year.

Both issues are critical and have a Sept. 30 deadline looming. If Congress fails to act on these two legislative requests, much of government halts and the Ex-Im Bank ceases to exist for now.

While Congress is expected to meet its deadline, it is a shame so much time is spent talking and posturing. Constituents would feel better if time-sensitive decisions could be made earlier instead of later.

It's true part of the delay came when President Obama requested $500 million to train Syrian rebels in an effort to combat the Islamic State. The new funding request deserved some deliberation, but in light of the brutal beheadings of two American journalists and a British aide worker by this terrorist sect, the request appears to have broad support.

Last year was a disaster when Congress failed to agree on budget extensions because the Republicans balked at Obamacare and the Democrats held their ground.

The result was a halt in government for 16 days. Of course, during that time, Congress and the President continued to draw a salary even though thousands of federal workers were furloughed during the shutdown.

It is a sure bet Congress will not want a repeat of that debacle. Yet, decisions are still coming down to the wire.

Of crucial importance to Washington state is the continued operation of the Ex-Im Bank, which provides credit insurance and financing so foreign buyers can buy U.S. products and services. Boeing is the nation's largest exporter, and in addition, 40 percent of all jobs in Washington are tied to international trade.

There are some House Republicans who would like to see the bank disbanded, calling it corporate welfare. But that is inaccurate. The agency funds itself and is not dependent on taxes. It supported 1.2 million private-sector American jobs since 2009 and 205,000 jobs in 2013.

If Congress does not extend its charter, there will be dire economic consequences for Washington state and the entire country.

This special session is short for a reason.

It shouldn't take Congress long to do its job and make a couple of decisions.

Time is almost up.

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