Amid all the bluster about how high the stakes are and the vows by both parties to play out the game of chicken until they win, the approaching lame-duck session is more likely to come down to what lame ducks almost always come down to: punting until the next session of Congress.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tapped Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) for his running mate - and the would-be vice president could be the leading edge of a wave of current or former Hill talent heading to the administration next year if Romney wins.
Roll Call's Fabulous 50 showcases Capitol Hill's leading Democratic and Republican staffers. These top staffers are selected based on four criteria: Mastery, Influence, Spin and Access. Mastery is awarded to the Hill's policy and procedural experts; Influence is given to the individuals who drive the agenda, cut the deals, craft legislation and sway Members; Spin is given to Congress' best communicators who help set the tone and frame the debate; Access is awarded to those staffers who are in the room when decisions are made.
Familiar names top Roll Call's annual survey of Congressional wealth. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is the richest Member of Congress for the second year in a row, reporting a vast fortune that in 2011 had a minimum net worth surpassing $300 million for the first time.
Members of Congress, focused almost entirely on the November elections, might not have much on the legislative calender before then. But Cord Sterling certainly doesn't expect any downtime. The vice president of legislative affairs for the Aerospace Industries Association is on the front lines of the fight against the possible automatic defense budget cuts, known in wonkspeak as sequestration.
When the House Ethics Committee announced in July that it would formally investigate whether Nevada Senate candidate Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) broke any House rules or laws when she intervened to save a kidney transplant program, Democrats moved catlike to limit the potential damage.
The 112th Congress is on track to be the least productive in modern history, as partisan wrangling between the Republican-led House, the Democratic-run Senate and President Barack Obama has taken its toll on legislative action.
Running a successful restaurant in D.C. is plenty stressful enough. But Capitol Hill hospitality providers must deal with the added (sur)reality of losing hundreds of clients each time Congress takes one of its little breaks - none more painful than the annual summer recess.