Politics, government and public life for Southern California

What is Congress doing if not voting to reopen the government?

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Most of the action on Capitol Hill happened behind closed doors Tuesday. There was a lot of waiting around for votes to be scheduled, but that doesn't mean Congress isn't working.

Usually, Long Beach Democrat Alan Lowenthal gets marching orders from his scheduler, Amanda. "She's like the army commander," Lowenthal says, sending him from appointment to appointment. "Unfortunately, Amanda is not running the show now." Instead,  House Republicans control the vote schedule.

But even without votes, Lowenthal says he's still busy, with a caucus meeting Tuesday morning that, he says, "went on for an hour-and-a-half. Then I went to the No Labels group." That's the bipartisan group trying to work together on some sort of agreement. But the group could not agree to support the Senate bipartisan proposal to extend the debt ceiling.

The next item of business for Lowenthal was briefing his Capitol Hill staff, then a call to the district office in Long Beach to bring the staff up to speed so they can answer constituent questions about the shutdown and debt ceiling fight.

Lowenthal says the most frustrating part is" "I'm here, I'm working, but I'm not quite sure what the next step is going to be."

It's the question much of Congress is asking as time runs out to strike a deal and avoid a government default.


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