As if Congress didn't have enough trouble, now the roof is leaking.
Already besieged by a storm of criticism for its handling of the budget crisis, Congress experienced a rainstorm Thursday that caused a massive leak in the Capitol Dome and shredded flags flying over congressional office buildings."This is symbolic of what is happening to our government," Rep. Dan Glickman, D-Kan., said while rain dripped down a marble likeness of Abraham Lincoln.
Fatigue is taking its toll on lawmakers as debate, droning on practically around the clock, moves Congress painfully toward the end of its 101st session.
Even in the Senate, where time has never been an object and long-winded pontification is high art, enough was getting to be enough.
"If we could have charged fees for the speeches made in this chamber on the need to reduce the deficit, we could have reduced the deficit just by that fee. We could have a balanced budget by now. In fact we would have a surplus," Majority Leader George Mitchell, D-Maine, said.
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., acting as president pro tempore Thursday, announced a Senate vote as 45-57, and reporters dutifully wrote it down.
Minutes passed before anyone noticed it totaled 102, two more than the full Senate membership.