What that means, for good or for bad, is that no substantive legislation is bound to get passed. That could mean death for the bank-backed bankruptcy reform bill, which is down to its dying breath. It also means anyone on Capitol Hill even talking about major legislative initiatives is either just posturing for the cameras or positioning himself for the next Congress.

And it means that presidential appointments get held up, as Congress stalls while it waits to see who'll be the next president. This is especially so now, when one party controls the White House, which makes nominations, and the other controls the Congress, which gives them the final thumbs up or down.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.