Heard on the Hill

Obama to Congress: No Picnic for You!

The 2013 Congressional Picnic is dead for sure. Just when you thought Capitol Hill-White House relations couldn't get much worse, on Wednesday afternoon, in the news-dump hour of after 5 p.m., President Barack Obama officially killed a chance to hang out in a relaxed setting at the White House.

In a particularly antiseptic notice from the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, Congress was informed thusly that its presence at the summer picnic, the tradition of which has stretched back decades, was no longer needed. Perhaps Obama's trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to talk Syria was all he needed to see of Congress for the time being, and he had no desire to see members of Congress again on Sept. 18.

Nothing says "Happy Summer!" like telling people to buzz off. Here's the letter, which exudes all the charm of a tax audit notice:

Good evening,

The 2013 Congressional Picnic has been cancelled. The President and Mrs. Obama look forward to welcoming Members of Congress and their immediate families at the Congressional Holiday Ball in December. More details regarding the Congressional Holiday Ball will follow at a later date.

Thank you,

White House Office of Legislative Affairs