You may not have heard it, but there was happy dance music on Capitol Hill this week. That’s right, thousands of Congressional staff were queitly celebrating the August recess. The bosses are gone. The media was packing up. For many, a well-earned vacation or just time away from the city awaits.
The DC area does slow down a bit in August, especially when the Congress adjourns in early August. The traffic is a little better on the 14th Street bridge and the downtown area is a little more laid back. If you can ignore the tourist buses and Segways, you get the sense that fall is just around the corner. And what a fall political fall season it promises to be. K Street will continue to struggle with relevance issues; consider this POLITICO story. This piece is a but a sliver that shows how out of touch many folks on K Street still are about how the business of politics is evolving.
On the budget front, we’ll have a new joint congressional committee. I cannot see any politically vulnerable Members rushing to be a member of that elite super committee, at least not a sane one. Then there is staff. No word yet if additional staff will be needed, but if they do not plan on bringing in new people, there are going to be a lot of stressed out staff doing double duty for many weeks, likely through the end of the year.
There will also be a lot of debate next month on pending appropriations measures. Foreign policy will make a cameo or two with success of NATO operations in Libya in doubt, as well as a few new issues including a proposed nuclear 123 agreement with, get this, Saudi Arabia. Then there are the presidential contenders in the GOP primary. We’ll hear a lot more from that group starting later this year.
The business of law, policy, and politics never ends in this area, never will. Yet for those of us brave enough to live in this area, we are grateful that the pace takes a more measured beat these next few weeks.