Happy summer vacation, Congress. Clearly, you need a break.

The Republican-led House was so exhausted from passing legislation allowing it to sue President Obama for overstepping his executive authority that it could barely muster the energy to use its own authority to address the humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border, which it did in a meaningless vote after the Senate had recessed for August.

Congress’ failure on immigration has been well-documented. Less heralded, but equally impressive, was its cowardice on the Highway Trust Fund.

Rather than adopt Obama’s multi-year spending plan – funded through changes in the corporate tax code –to upgrade the nation’s aging roads, bridges and mass-transit networks, or the Senate’s patch to keep the highway fund solvent through November, Congress passed a 10-month extension financed largely by a fiscal gimmick. It’s the worst possible outcome.

By extending the fund until May 2015, Congress has bypassed the best hope for raising revenue: the lame-duck session after the November elections. Any hope of raising the 18.4-cent-a-gallon gas tax adopted in 1993 – the most sensible way to pay for transportation expenses – is now all but dead. And the prospect for other politically fraught steps – such as raising user fees on roads – also took a major dive.

Making matters worse, Congress is paying for the 10-month extension with an accounting trick called “pension smoothing,” which produces more taxable income over the short run and less over the long run. Today’s windfall is tomorrow’s shortfall. So much for investing in the future.

The Senate could easily have decided to stay in session and negotiate with the House for a more responsible plan. Instead, fearful that they’d be blamed for any delays in funding, senators quickly approved the House’s plan and left town. Life is all about setting priorities, after all. And what could be more important than summer vacation?