While imperiling global markets, enraging the American people, and generally doing little of benefit for the country besides giving pundits something to talk about, the U.S. debt ceiling crisis also brought almost every other piece of important congressional business to a halt for weeks, if not months.
"Just to speak to how dysfunctional the U.S. Senate is, we're here over the debt ceiling, but instead of focusing on the issue at hand, we're going to focus on something that's irrelevant possibly and has nothing to do with why we're here," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said last month when he insisted that Congress not talk about Libya until the economy is fixed. "Let's not take up an issue that will have no effect on and has nothing to do with the debt ceiling, and take on those issues that will."
Now that a deal has been struck, lawmakers should be able to return to the other pending matters on their agenda -- after they get back from their five-week vacation, that is. And when they do finally return to town, they'll face a long list of foreign policy and national security issues that are priorities for President Barack Obama's administration, but which remain stalled on Capitol Hill.
Here are the top eight foreign-policy items currently held up by the do-nothing 112th Congress.
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