Health-care reform - in all its guises - isn't the only important business that seems bogged down in a Congress that is rapidly running out of time to pass any meaningful legislation.

Also hung up and headed for apparent oblivion are proposals to change some of the worst practices in Congress. These include campaign finance reform, limits on gifts and lobbying and reform of antiquated procedures by which Congress operates.Most of the proposals are long overdue and have the backing of 1992's large freshman class. The lack of any real movement represents a victory of the business-as-usual old guard against the reform-minded newcomers.

On campaign reform, House Speaker Thomas Foley, D-Wash., and the Democratic leadership are insisting that any limit on Political Action Committee donations be set at a much-too-generous $10,000. That is at least twice as high as the Senate is willing to accept. A $10,000 limit on PACs hardly amounts to a limit at all.

There is a great deal of hypocrisy involved as well. Aware of their miserable reputation in the eyes of the public, members of Congress pay lip service to reform and even vote for it - especially if there is almost no chance of it becoming law.

For example, when President George Bush made it clear he would veto a campaign reform law, Congress passed one and sent it to him. As promised, he rejected it. But now that President Clinton is in the White House and has pledged to sign any campaign reform measure, no bill is coming out of Congress.

A proposal to put limits on gifts and spending by lobbyists also is at risk. The House measure is full of loopholes; the Senate version is better. But both seem stalled.

A joint committee's recommendations for procedural reform included plans to reduce the needlessly large number of committees and subcommittees and to switch to a two-year federal budget system.

But with very little time left in which to get any work done before the August recess and the pressures of the fall campaign, the chances of meaningful action are almost non-existent.

The lack of any such reform would be perhaps the strongest evidence yet that the public image of Congress as a self-serving body is well-deserved.