Temperatures are rising in the nation’s capital, and I don’t just mean literally (although we have been above 90 for five straight days, with heat indices hovering near 100 degrees).
With the arrival of summer comes the most tumultuous part of Congress’ legislative schedule. And there are several things boiling right now—responding to the BP oil spill, preparing for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, negotiating a tax “extenders” package, finalizing legislation to overhaul the nation’s financial regulatory system, and formulating a strategy for Senate passage of energy and climate legislation, just to name a few.
We also are in an election year, which complicates matters further. Legislators often feel “trapped” between the general electorate and their party leaders, and finding the balance between casting votes here in Washington and campaigning back home is no small task. No one should really be surprised by short-fused outbursts or the head-scratching “huh? Did he/she really just say that?” statements that come out of politicians’ mouths in the hazy, crazy days of summer.
Mix the political heat with the actual temperatures in DC, an influx of tourists, and a daunting “to do” list, and voila! You get a hot, sticky mess.