Hardball with Chris Matthews, 8/5/13, 5:58 PM ET

Chris Matthews: Congress wasn’t always this way

Hardball host Chris Matthews discusses how a five-week vacation for Congress doesn’t mean that they’ve gotten much done, and how they may be coming back to a non-functioning government if Republicans get their way with shutting it down.

Congress is on vacation and ‘they’ve got nothing done’

Updated

Let me finish tonight with this.

You know how great it feels to get a job done? I remember what Hedley Donavan of Time magazine once said when asked if he liked writing.

“I like having written!” he said.

You know the feeling, whatever the job you just got done.

So how do you think the United States Congress, especially the House of Representatives, feels as it begins a five-week vacation?

A grand sense of getting a job done?  Finally, the hard work behind it?  The back broken of a particularly tough task?

D’ya think?  You know, that happy exhaustion of a job completed?

Not on your life:  No appropriations done.  No budget agreed to.  Nothing done on gun safety.  No real hope on immigration reform.  A grand deal on spending and taxes?  What are you, crazy?

Nothing.  They’ve got nothing done.

And, guess what, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

As soon as this gang comes back in September, we are going to face a three month countdown to do even less!!!!

No appropriations on time.  Not even a budget passed.  No continuing resolution.

And that could well mean no United States government.  That’s right.  The people who  left town after doing nothing are coming back for the single purpose of shutting down the rest of the government.

And then, after days or weeks or more of screwing around, they are going to - who knows? - by sometime in late November stop paying the government’s bill.

The United States could well be - by Christmas time - the world’s great deadbeat!

The country that goes into default because threatening to do so has become the new happy toy of the hard right and because the rest of the country’s elected leaders have no way of doing business with each other.

It wasn’t always this way.

So why is it this way now?

Congress is on vacation and 'they've got nothing done'

Updated