Congress has 78 working days left to bring peace to the world, balance the budget, solve the Cuban refugee problem, end inflation and find jobs for millions of unemployed Americans.
Because this is an election year, with two national conventions and elections, the Senate and House have relatively little time to do anything between now and their early October adjournment target date.
Because of its tight schedule, Congress will be off six days for the remainder of this month, off nine days in June, away 18 days in July, gone 20 days in August and elsewhere at least eight days in September. Then it will be time to adjourn for the campaign trail.
All the above means that federal workers can probably forget, for this year anyhow, fears that their civil service retirement system will be merged with Social Security.
The relatively little time remaining for legislative action means the Carter administration will have to work something of a miracle to get its pay reform bill through the Senate and House in time to have an impact on the October pay raise due several million white-collar government workers and military personnel.
President Carter has budgeted 6.2 percent for the October raise, based on the assumption that Congress will approve his new system for comparing federal salaries and Fringe benefits to the private sector. Under the current measurement system, civil servants could expect about double that amount.
If Congress should approve the president's pay reform bill by midsummer, administration officials believe that a comparison of the value of federal pay and benefits versus those in industry would lead to an adjustment this October of 6.2 percent. Perhaps a tad more. If they don't get reform, however, odds are good that the president will again "cap" federal-military pay raises. Certainly he will not okay the full 12 percent catch-up-with-industry. There is also the possibility, expressed by some administration officials, that the president might give federal workers less than 6.2 percent (some figure between zero and 6.2 percent) unless reform becomes law.
The situation changes almost daily, due to politics and economics. But if you are worried about congressional action this year, there isn't much working time left to worry.