• A Short History of Senators Complaining About Having to Work

    When: December 2012
    What the Senate Should Be Doing: Extending tax rates, passing a farm bill to avoid the lactocalypse, raising the debt ceiling.
    What they're Doing: Complaining

    Mostly, people just looked mad. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, his tie slightly askew, looked as gloomy as the clouds hovering over the Capitol dome. "I didn't realize how much I didn't want to be here until I got here," said Mr. Schumer, who had taken the red eye from San Francisco, where he had arrived only days earlier to visit his daughter.

    When: December 2010
    What the Senate Should Have Been Doing: Passing the DREAM Act
    What they're Doing: Complaining

    "There's only so much time," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.). "It's coming up as a test between time and measures. Something is going to have to give…I want to go home for Christmas. I don't want to be here for Christmas. And I don't want to be here between Christmas and New Year's [Day] either."

    When: November 2000
    What the Senate Should Have Been Doing: Passing appropriations bill to keep the government open
    What they're DoingComplaining

    "We need to take a timeout," the Senate majority leader, Trent Lott of Mississippi, said today of the decision to recess for two weeks.

    And that's mostly it! Even though Congress held a long post-Christmas session in 1970 to pass an increase in Social Security benefits and debate plans to build a supersonic transport plane, you did not see the Senator Mansfield and Dirksens of the world complain about it, because legislating is these people's job.

    Plus, they set the schedule! No one made Congress create the fiscal cliff, nor did anyone force them to wait until after Christmas to resolve it.

    This must be why C-SPAN started playing that (presumably tiny) violin music during quorum calls.

    Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Fiscal Cliff, History, Senate


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