Setting Priorities

Up for possible consideration and Congressional debate next year: a jobs bill and the budget; climate change and energy legislation; education and transportation bills;  Wall Street and banking reform; important discussions about Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and our new detainee policy; immigration reform; The Doha trade round and other international agreements; things we haven't considered yet; the contentious and difficult end game on health care reform, and at some point ways the federal government can better align our income and expenditures.  And of course there is much more than just this list.

Due to a hotly contested election year Congress will likely have half or fewer of the legislative days they had in 2009.  So, after watching what happened this year, do we really believe the President and Congress can tackle all of these in 2010, and do them well, allot the amount of time each issue deserves?  If not, what goes then?

Increasingly, it appears that the effective management of the Congressional calendar will be one of the most important issues challenging Washington next year.  Can the two chambers and the White House do a better job at bringing their party together to avoid the any one of these issues becoming the health care of 2010, eating up the calendar for months on end, preventing attention and action on other vital matters?  Or do our leaders have to admit to us that despite all that needs to be done - given the enormity of the challenges facing us - that only a few things can be done and done well in 2010?

Am fascinated by this dynamic, and interested to see how the President, Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi approach this early next year.   Replicating what happened on health care this year on even a single issue next year could be a disaster for the governing party.   Will the three leaders try a different approach?