Lawmakers rolled into the Capitol earlier this month bracing for one last round of fireworks before sprinting out of town until after the election.
But as Congress prepares to wrap up as early as this week leaving the Capitol dark until November, lawmakers are exiting more with a whimper than a bang.
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The reason? Everybody’s got Election Day on the brain.
“I’m glad there wasn’t [drama],” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said in an interview. “I think right now everybody is focused on Nov. 8 and any consequential legislative action probably doesn’t take place until after that.”
That warning of a government shutdown Harry Reid delivered heading into the session? Not happening.
“I think the Senate probably [finishes] by the middle of the week and us maybe by the end, maybe spill over into the week after,” said a relaxed Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior member on the House Appropriations Committee, when asked to predict how they wrap up.
The Senate has teed up a key procedural vote Monday on a stopgap bill to fund government agencies until mid-December, after staffers worked over the weekend to put the finishing touches on a proposal that would satisfy both sides.
Most of the wrangling — over Planned Parenthood language related to Zika funding, disaster relief for flooded Louisiana and internet domain oversight — has unfolded behind the scenes. The Senate has taken the lead, a move some considered necessary after House conservatives threatened to withhold support for a bill that didn’t go into next year.
“I’d rather it start [the process in the House], but I think the speaker had enough of a challenge to go from six months to three months and considers that, I think, his contribution to the cause,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi …