George Costanza would sympathize with Harry Reid in coming weeks, as the Senate Majority Leader sees worlds collide. The Washington Post has a good story today by Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane summing up all the major legislation that Congress will be trying to get done before it leaves for the year, dealing with: warrantless wiretapping, energy, 11 of the 12 appropriations bills, the alternative minimum tax, farm subsidies. None of these is easy under even the best of circumstances, and there is real urgency to the FISA law and fixing the AMT. But Reid, with that slim 51-49 majority, faces a particular challenge, in the fact that four of his members (compared with only one Republican) are going to be making their last push on the campaign trail before the Iowa caucuses.:
Even before the sprint to the Iowa caucuses, the senator-candidates have been increasingly absent from the chamber. McCain has missed more than 53 percent of roll call votes this year and has not cast a single vote since Oct. 24. Biden, Dodd and Obama have missed more than a third of all votes this year, according to washingtonpost.com’s congressional database. Clinton has missed just 18 percent of votes, but was on hand for only three days of voting in the month leading up to the Thanksgiving recess.