Kitty Felde |

The mood on the Hill

It's very quiet in the halls of Congress.  The GOP has its annual retreat this weekend in Baltimore, so it's a short week.  Several Democratic members stayed in their home districts.  And the only official business was speaking about the victims of Saturday's shooting.

That attack on one of their own has deeply affected members and their staff.  I keep hearing stories about threats that - before last weekend's events - were noted and filed away.  Now many keep thinking about "what if?"

But it's more than security concerns.  There's a great deal of sadness about another event: what appears to be a traffic accident Monday involving a former Hill staffer who crashed her car inside her garage and died as a result of the fire.  She lived a few blocks away from the Capitol and just about everyone knew her.  Staffers with kids are making sure they take off early enough to take cupcakes to their kids' classroom for the birthday party.  Even if they didn't have time this week to make them from scratch. 

In speaking with Congressional members this week, there seems to be a more human, less political level of communication.  And a lot of talk about why we all - politicians and press - got into this line of work: to serve the public, to try to make the world a better place.