House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that, contrary to press reports, the House isn’t bugging out this week. Now, however, the Senate Democrats are, in fact, talking about fleeing the Capitol early:
Senate Democrats are seriously weighing whether to leave town at the end of next week, instead of staying in session until Oct. 7 or Oct. 8, as had been anticipated.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Democrats might pass a stop-gap spending measure to keep government funded beyond Sept. 30 and then go back to their home states to campaign.
Democrats in Congress are getting restless to hit the campaign trail and brace for what some experts predict will be a Republican wave in the midterm election.
It’s not just that Democrats are anxious to get back to the campaign trail; they can’t wait to get out of D.C. As long as they stay, the headlines and talk show buzz about failed maneuvers (the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell and DREAM Act amendments, the class warfare vote on Obama’s stimulus plan) will continue to plague them. Even Dana Milbank is grouchy that the Democrats never managed to get much done:
They still have their largest majority in decades, but the Democrats have succumbed to paralysis in the closing days of the legislative session. Congress has yet to pass a budget or a single one of the annual spending bills. Plans to spur the economy with tax cuts await action. Senate Democrats, faced with a GOP filibuster, have now punted on immigration reform and repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military. Meanwhile, House Democrats have so little on their schedule that their first vote of the week is coming at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, when Americans are most of the way through their workweeks.
Well, they did a lot already, but none of it is all that popular. “[T]hey don’t want to talk about the achievements. The stimulus bill is unpopular; they’re not getting credit for health-care legislation, financial reforms and many other accomplishments; and the spent majority can’t limp out of town fast enough.” I guess they aren’t achievements if no one wants to talk about them.
So onto the trail they will go. If they can avoid those sticky situations when voters call them out, disassociate themselves from Obama, and convince voters that the recession is over, they’ll do just fine, right? Come to think of it, maybe it’s safer inside the Beltway.