Bob's Blog: Dysfunction home & abroad

The theme of the week is dysfunction, and there is plenty to go around.

Another week has passed and there is yet another major development in the Edward Snowden case. The notorious leaker of National Security Agency secrets was granted a one-year asylum by Russia. Snowden has lived in a Moscow airport hotel for five weeks; now he is free to roam the country.

This latest twist highlights the flawed relationship between the United States and Russia.

President Barack Obama and his administration have been crystal clear on their stance on Snowden: They demand extradition and are willing to use U.S. influence to restrict Snowden's movements. On the other hand, President Vladimir Putin wants to bolster his power as the strongman of Russia.

There are so many crucial issues that the United States and Russia could work on together - for one, these two countries hold all the cards on the civil war in Syria. But the current U.S.-Russia relationship is not strong on cooperation and tackling big issues.

Instead, Putin has now adopted a Hugo Chavez perspective, looking to poke his finger in the eye of the United States merely to show the world that Russia is big and tough. The decision to grant Snowden temporary asylum was undoubtedly approved by the Kremlin, likely by Putin himself. It's part of a calculated strategy to gain leverage over the United States, something Russia has been lacking lately.

So the relationship between Obama and Putin is sour. What else is new these days? The situation is not all too different here in Washington between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

It's August, and that means members of Congress are on vacation. Although it's a challenge to actually notice their absence, we should all pay attention this time: They skipped out of town without working out a plan to keep the federal government running past September.

This sets the stage for another "gun-to-your-head" showdown - another manufactured crisis - over how to keep the lights on in Washington. Some GOP firebrands hope to use the debate to push the issue of defunding Obamacare, which angered White House and has even rankled some weary Republicans.

Beyond the government funding fight, the House is still taking its time on immigration. And there are other "big ticket" ideas being floated on Capitol Hill, including the always elusive topic of tax reform. Congress is broken. It isn't "almost broken." It's broken. And it will take some serious leadership to get us out of this mess.

Joining me Sunday on "Face The Nation" are two key members of Congress, one from each party.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has taken a tough stance against Russia after Snowden received asylum, saying that the country "stabbed us in the back."

Trust me - he will have a lot more to say on Sunday.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairs the House Budget Committee and has a hand in upcoming negotiations to prevent a government shutdown. He'll be on the show to talk about that, Obamacare and more.

Be sure to tune in for these guests, plus our weekly roundtable, on Sunday. Check your local listings.

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