If you were just overcome with sense of deja vu, it's because we've been down this road before. Many times.
When lawmakers couldn't reach a deal on the debt ceiling in 2011, they set up a series of drastic, automatic cuts -- so-called "sequestration" -- that would take effect if they didn't come to an agreement on cutting the deficit by the end of 2012.
By the end of that period, though, without a big deal at hand, Congress instead kicked the can down the road yet again, delaying those cuts by another two months. Congress will deal with the looming cuts in the coming weeks.
Other recent examples of this trend:
* Congress hasn't passed a budget in years, instead passing a series of continuing resolutions to keep the government running for a specified period of time. While that's not altogether unusual, this post from National Journal shows how the use of temporary CRs has increased in recent years.
* Congress couldn't forge a deal on the expiring Bush tax cuts in 2010, so instead it renewed them for two years. To Congress's credit, it did something permanent eventually, codifying the cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans in the fiscal cliff deal reached on New Year's Day.
* Congress renewed the payroll tax cut for two months at the end of 2011 and then for the rest of the year in February. Eventually, it lapsed in the fiscal cliff deal.
So when does it stop? At what point does kicking the can down the road become unacceptable?
Bascially, to this point, the American people have not lashed out at Congress's can-kicking style. The problem is that, when these deadlines get so close to lapsing and all the talk is about how disastrous it would be if there is no deal, kicking the can down the road becomes a relief for everybody involved, and the country simply moves on to the next crisis deadline. 'We didn't get a big deal, but we averted catastrophe,' is the overwhelming sentiment.
The fiscal cliff deal, for example, got relatively decent reviews from the American people, even though Congress failed to achieve anything close to a so-called "grand bargain" that was the point of the whole exercise.
But the underlying problem isn't any more solved than it was before Congress set itself up for a big confrontation, and that big confrontation will happen again, x number of days down the road.
If the American people are ever going to be fed up with that approach, it may happen soon. That's because Congress has kicked so many cans at once that they are all gathering in a relatively small space of time. With the fiscal cliff barely in the rearview mirror, Congress now faces self-imposed deadlines on the sequestration cuts, the debt ceiling and passing a budget.
And if lawmakers just continue to kick the can over and over again, at some point, you have to think that people start to ask for more.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows, for the first time, a majority of Americans favor abortion rights. What's more, seven in 10 say they don't want Roe v. Wade overturned.
The cabinet member selected to stay away from the inaugural proceedings was Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
The crowd management problems of 2009 seemed far less severe on Monday.
But some inaugural parade ticket holders were nonetheless denied entrance to the event.
"Obama speech reveals a different leader" -- Dan Balz, Washington Post
"Obama's Destiny As The Next JFK Faces Second-Term Obstacles -- And Bill Clinton" -- Jon Ward, Huffington Post
"Maine's King Takes His Independence Seriously" -- Niels Lesniewski, Roll Call
"History Shows Midterm Elections a Hard Slog for President's Party" -- Kyle Trygstad, Roll Call
"Obama address pushes liberal agenda" -- Scott Wilson, Washington Post
"Obama's Mention of Gay Rights May Raise Eyebrows Among Black Backers" -- Ron Fournier, National Journal
"Obama Becomes A 'Great' President" -- Ben Smith, Buzzfeed
"Speech Gives Climate Goals Center Stage" -- Richard W. Stevenson and John M. Broder, New York Times