Amid rancour, Congress acts on opioids, water safety

Despite the uproar over Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, Congress has been able to reach bipartisan agreement on a range of bills.

WASHINGTON DC, US (REUTERS) - Tensions have been running at a fever pitch in Washington, but as Election Day approaches, Republicans and Democrats have also been working together to tackle everything from drug addiction to cell phones on airplanes.

Two stories have been dominating the news: first, Brett Kavanaugh's bruising high court confirmation battle, and second, the November Congressional elections. That's obscured a wave of real legislative accomplishments - a burst of bipartisan activity on Capitol Hill - suggesting that maybe Washington isn't quite as dysfunctional as it often appears.

The Senate is approving more legislation for Trump to sign - a sweeping water infrastructure bill providing upgrades to the nation's water and sewer pipes. 

Also awaiting Trump's signature is a plan to fight the opioid epidemic: setting up recovery centers for addicts, stepping up efforts to catch smuggled synthetic drugs from China and increasing penalties for drug companies that pressure doctors to overprescribe pain pills.

Congress is also tackling air travel by directing the government to set minimum seat sizes on passenger planes, ban in-flight cell phone calls and prevent airlines from removing passengers after they've been seated, a move prompted by a viral video of David Dao being dragged off a United flight last year.

It's one more example of compromise and consensus building. With an election coming up, lawmakers are eager to show voters they can get the job done.