Just another silly season in Congress

August is supposed to be quiet time in the national capital. Congress is in recess, the Supreme Court is adjourned and the president is usually at his ranch in Texas. Also gone are all their attendants. The place really does close up in August.

But this month is different. Even though Congress usually can’t wait to get out of town, some members are refusing to leave.

The Senate has technically not adjourned. To comply with the rules, every three days a handful of Democratic senators from neighboring states or who happen to be still in Washington hold a quick pro forma session. One such session lasted 28 seconds.

The whole point of the Senate’s not going into recess is to block President Bush from making recess appointments, which do not require Senate confirmation. Such appointments last until the end of the congressional session.

The House really has adjourned but an overly earnest group of Republican lawmakers refused to leave in protest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to allow a vote on domestic oil and gas drilling. They are demanding that Pelosi call the House back into session.

As The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank pointed out, 18 times over the past 90 days the Republicans tried to force the House to adjourn and now that it finally has, they are protesting.

The TV cameras and sound system were turned off — no C-SPAN, no microphones — and the lights dimmed, but the Republicans perorated on about how high gas prices are the Democrats’ fault. Or we assume that’s what they’re saying because the only way to hear them is to go in person to the House gallery.

Handfuls of tourists in t-shirts and shorts do turn up as part of the Capitol tour and so desperate are the Republicans for an audience that they have invited them down to the House floor in spite of a strict ban on both tourists and shorts in that sacred precinct.

The whole performance is bizarre — a publicity stunt with no publicity. Normally it’s difficult to make a graceful exit from a failed protest like this, but the Republicans are lucky. It’s August. No one is around to notice.


  1. Stratocaster

    There is a lot of pressure being applied to the House Juciciary Committee to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their crimes. So what do they do? Take a recess. I would say that Bush and Cheney aren’t the only people that should be out of a job.

  2. douin

    How can Congress justify a month long recess when impeachment hearings were being conducted in order to decide whether to impeach the President and his Vice President ? This is absurd. I still say what I said over six years ago…Clean House and the Senate..and then the Judicial branch. It is clear that this is a do-nothing Congress and intends to stay that way. Pelosi, by her lack of will to do what she was elected to do , should go first. She is nothing more than a space-warmer and that is not what we voted for. It makes one wonder what kind of hanky-panky is going on there.

    I am thoroughly disgusted with what Bush and Cheney and that whole NeoCon traitorous cabal have done to my country. It appears to even my untrained eye that the Zionists are the controlling factor in all that is Not going on .. and behind all that Is. Why are the American people not seeing what is going on with Our Government..or what used to be Our Government. If we all do not wake up, we will forever lose our freedoms. This Bush Administration has taken us down that Fascist path so far already,if we don’t open our eyes it will be too late to get Our country back.

  3. churlpat

    I, for one, encourage as many Republicans as possible to remain in DC. It’s miserable there this time of year, and on top of that if they are in DC then they aren’t campaigning for reelection. I wonder how many of those that have stayed behind are actively pursuing employment over on K Street. I suspect many of them have given up any reasonable hope of reelection.

    Churlpat — a plutarch by any name is still a plutarch