As the country hurtled toward the fiscal cliff and sequestration, House Republican leaders apparently couldn't live without their catering, coffee and cars.
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's death last week ended the more than 50-year reign of the Senate "lions" — a select group of iconic, long-serving members whose presence connected the chamber to some of the most important events of the past half-century.
"Regardless of the final results of the election, Wednesday, Nov. 7 continues a gigantic battle between small-government, constitutional conservatives and the big-government Republicans for the heart and soul of the GOP," longtime conservative maven Richard Viguerie tells Inside the Beltway.
Democrats have vilified super PACs since the Supreme Court deemed the murky megamoney-spenders legal in early 2010. And leading that charge has been President Obama, who, during his State of the Union speech that year, famously chastised the PACs' power for unlimited political spending with little transparency.
While Republicans rarely brought up former President George W. Bush at their convention last week, Democrats gleefully have paraded him through theirs, saying he left President Obama a mess he's still working to clean up.
To many Washington outsiders, congressional ethics is an oxymoron or fodder for late-night comedians, but watchdogs and longtime Washington observers point to one hopeful sign — an office they believe is helping members take ethics rules more seriously.
Bitterly divided Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill aren't making much progress publicly on a legislative deal that would extend the national payroll-tax holiday, continue unemployment benefits to the long-term jobless and grant full payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.
President Obama has distanced himself from the congressional supercommittee — politically and geographically — in a strategy aimed at avoiding political risk rather than putting his leadership on the line for a long-shot deal, analysts say.
Republicans stand to be the political winners coming out of the 2010 national census, as congressional redistricting will likely make the "average" lawmakers slightly more conservative while cementing GOP control of the House of Representatives, a panel of electoral experts predicted Monday.