It’s very, very quiet here.
The halls of Congress are usually busy with young staffers walking briskly beside a House member, briefing them on this or that on the way to a meeting. (You can tell the Congressional member…at least most of the time: they’re the ones wearing the lapel pin. Of course, Barney Frank didn’t wear his and doesn’t look like his pictures and was only identifiable after he’d opened his mouth…but that’s another story..)
Usually, there are LOTS of Capitol Police in the hallways. And folks from various interest groups - everyone from Maryland farmers in checked shirts to Alzheimers research advocates wearing purple sashes - calling on members, asking for support. The sound of elevators dinging is constantly in the air. And this sense of business and busyness goes on till quite late in the evening.
Not this week.
This is the “spring district work period,” Congressional members are home in their districts and staffers are taking vacation days. One Senate employee is taking advantage of the lull to get married this weekend. Boxes are stacking up outside House office doors.
The few staffers you see in the tunnels between the House office buildings and the Capitol building after five are all wearing jogging suits and sneakers rather than business suits and pumps. They listen to Ipods rather than their boss.
It’s like a movie set after the actors have all gone home.