Royalty-free Image: The U S Capitol

They have a lot on their plates.

Senators and Representatives in Congress went back to work on Monday, after their August recess and before the November elections.

It's too early for anybody to call them "lame-ducks," but we probably get the feeling that the American people will be calling them a lot of things if they don't get something done.

And can we all get some of those five-week vacations?

The Associated press put it this way:

Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - Fresh off a five-week vacation, lawmakers return to Washington on Monday for a brief pre-election session in which Congress will do what it often does best: punt its problems to the future.

There's a slew of deadlines and the prospect of a debilitating "fiscal cliff" in January. But lawmakers are expected to take a pass on the big issues of taxes and spending cuts and instead focus on doing the bare minimum - preventing a government shutdown when the budget year ends on Sept. 30.

At issue is a six-month temporary spending bill to finance the day-to-day operations of the federal government. The annual appropriations process on Capitol Hill collapsed about midway through the campaign season.