CAMBRIDGE, Md. — First it was New York Times columnist Tom Friedman who bailed on the House Democratic retreat due to inclement weather forecasts; now it's the vice president of the United States.
Joseph R. Biden Jr., scheduled to address lawmakers today at their annual "issues conference" at the Hyatt Regency, has been forced to cancel his travel plans as snow continues to pummel the region, according to official White House guidance.
In Cambridge, snow turned to sleet overnight, and the freezing rain has all but washed away whatever accumulation occurred.
But back in the nation's capital, the snow is piling up to almost a foot. Metrobus routes have been canceled in a sign that many streets and roads have yet to be plowed, making driving perilous — even for the veep's motorcade.
Democrats in Cambridge, meanwhile, face a gaping hole in their carefully curated schedule of events. It's not clear, though, how many lawmakers actually showed up to the retreat, given the weather forecasts that on Tuesday where already threatening to close down airports in advance of Congress' scheduled weeklong recess.
Reporters are being restricted to a makeshift "filing center" in a restaurant across the street from the main hotel complex. Any opportunity to do a headcount would have been during Biden's address, when reporters would have been escorted into the event space by Capitol Police.
On Wednesday, one senior Democratic aide said roughly "60 percent" of the full caucus was in attendance, while another said it was probably "close to 100" of the party's 200 members.