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See, there is no this week in Congress. They're in recess for the Presidents Day week. Yes, it's true that you and I only get one day off for Presidents Day, if that, and the Congress is taking the week.

But for one thing, a Congressional "day off" is a lot different from a day off for you and me. Their "days off" are typically filled with constituent meetings, political functions, even fundraisers and the like. For another, did any of you work past midnight all of last week, and until 5 a.m. on Saturday morning? Because the members of the House did.

Anyway, the point of my posting a This Week in Congress when there is no this week in Congress is to remind you of the fact that there are only two weeks left until the current continuing resolution funding the government (last year's H.R. 3082) runs out, which means a new one has to take its place or else the government shuts down. The House Republicans intend for H.R. 1 to be that replacement. Senate Democrats undoubtedly have different ideas. But whether it's H.R. 1 or something else, there are two weeks left before a new bill has to be in place.

And one of those weeks is being spent in recess.

The House -- typically the more "efficient" of the two houses -- took a full week to get H.R. 1 through.

The Senate, on the other hand, took nearly the entire month of February to finish the FAA reauthorization bill and pass it by a vote of 87-8.

Now, there is a way out, which is to pass a short-term, temporary continuing resolution that will simply buy time until the two houses can resolve whatever differences they may have over H.R. 1 or whatever other vehicle they decide to use. That's the standard practice in these situations. But Speaker Boehner apparently rejects the idea of the House passing even short-term CRs that don't themselves include dramatic cuts. The question is, will those cuts have to be as dramatic as those that eventually made it into H.R. 1? Or will some lesser level of cuts be acceptable?

We'll have to stay tuned to find out. But the answer to that question is what will determine whether or not there actually will be a government shutdown. Boehner's backed out of tough spots before. I'm thinking here of how in September he seemed resigned to the passage of middle class tax cuts, but by December had decided they were "chicken crap." But even there, he had to move from his natural inclination to where the Teabaggers were. With the Teabaggers once again grasping him by the short hairs, will he be able to maneuver, or would he rather force the shutdown he insists no Republican is talking about, but which is actually loudly demanded by the people responsible for his last flip?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wait a minute (4+ / 0-)

    We're supposed to get the day off?

    <stomps off looking for supervisor>

    "The revolution was televised, tweeted, Facebooked, YouTubed, and Xeroxed." Brian Stelter

    by Ex Con on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:15:14 AM PST

  •  What's with this "we" stuff? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ex Con, Thinking Fella, melpomene1

    This here public sector employee doesn't get the day off today. I sure as hell don't get this week off.

  •  It is becoming apparent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    that Boehner is no leader. He will do what the teabaggers tell him to do, period, because the alternative is to work with the Democrats to come up with a budget that will pass the Senate.

    Of course, anything extreme enough for the 'baggers to endorse will be DOA in the Senate.

    The orange guy is in deep doo-doo, IMHO. I don't think he has a clue how to deal with the far right members of his caucus, and the old guard and moneymen in the party are going to get tired of his inability to lead.

    He's toast.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:23:33 AM PST

  •  Cuts to Job Training??? (0+ / 0-)

    WIA?  TGAAA?   I keep looking for the House bill, but I can't find it.  I want to know what they did to job training.  Can you point me in the general direction?

    If you don't stand for something, eventually, you stand for nothing.

    by dkmich on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:23:48 AM PST

  •  Full of themselves (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    The House Republicans are so very full of themselves that I think they will "force a shutdown" and find all kinds of three- and four-letter code phrases to justify it.

    The new Teahadists on the block do not remember the backlash against Republicans in the mid-90's for pulling this stunt ... and in any event, have convinced themselves that the public is with them. And their elders in the House don't seem to be able to find the bones to counter them.

    Hopefully, the Democrats will excel at pointing out the flaws in that Republican budget repair bill debacle. Senate Democrats have a recess week to strategize and be responsible  in their amendments (and moderate, mindful of the independents they need to attract in 2012!) and then send it across the building with a day to spare.

    After all, this debate isn't over next year's budget; it deals with the end of this fiscal year. Perhaps they can get some attention on the budget the President proposed. Starting responsibly on it would go a long way to showing up the Republican strategy to bring things to a halt.

    Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. Howard Thurman

    by TRPChicago on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:29:27 AM PST

  •  You and I? (0+ / 0-)
    it's true that you and I only get one day off for Presidents Day

    I don't know about you,but I'm at work now...had to shovel the driveway and drive through a blizzard to get here......on my birthday!

    President's week?.......pfsssh

  •  pfft (0+ / 0-)
    did any of you work past midnight all of last week, and until 5 a.m. on Saturday morning? Because the members of the House did.

    Do any of them have a PhD, make a pathetic $40k a year with no health insurance, and owe $50k in debt?  And are they 34 years old living in shared housing with 4 other people?

    Didn't think so.  

    Anytime one of them would like to trade careers, I'm ready.

    "All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour." -Julia, 1984

    by pullbackthecurtain on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:33:09 AM PST

  •  well... (0+ / 0-)

    you say...

    "For another, did any of you work past midnight all of last week, and until 5 a.m. on Saturday morning? Because the members of the House did."

    I would dispute your use of the word "work"...

    "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

    by Thinking Fella on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:33:39 AM PST

  •  Not entirely fair. (0+ / 0-)

    Of course, some of these critters may spend the week on the golf course, but being "in session" is not the only work they are supposed to be doing, and some others will probably work hard this week.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:36:32 AM PST

  •  Judiciary crisis (0+ / 0-)

    Being a senator really is a plum job: good pay, enormous prestige and lots of vacation time... Just think of the number of Judiciary nominees the Senate could have handled if they had been in session this week and did nothing else but that...

    After all, there are currently 16 vacancies on the United States Courts of Appeals, 83 vacancies on the United States district courts and a further 18 additional federal judiciary vacancies are anticipated to occur before the end of Obama's current term.

    Obama-Biden in 2012!

    by Frederik on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:54:32 AM PST

  •  I know some of you disagree, but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    Anytime the House is not in session, they can’t do more harm.

    At this point it is the only way to protect the poor, children, women, workers, the Earth.  I hope they take off the next 2 years.

    •  For the most part, you are right (0+ / 0-)

      as long as they don't shut down the government in their jihads against women, the poor, and the EPA.

      There should never be a tax benefit for companies that screw over American workers.

      by bear83 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 09:04:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some senators are working (0+ / 0-)

    Jeff Merkly came to town and did a town hall meeting yesterday.  He's done about 80 of them since he took office in 2008.  Wish we had more Democrats like him.

  •  Actually... (0+ / 0-)
    For another, did any of you work past midnight all of last week, and until 5 a.m. on Saturday morning? Because the members of the House did.

    My partner frequently works past midnight, and often has to get up multiple times during the night to check on the progress of an upload or compile.  All for a salary of $800/week before taxes, AND no day off today (or most other federal holidays).

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