The formal wear was also appropriate for a vote of such magnitude, a set of yeas and nays that would determine whether 800,000 federal employees, thousands at the Capitol complex alone, would report to work on Monday.
Each agency had a contingency plan in place, including the House Administration Committee, whose staffers labored feverishly through the week to prepare.
“I worked so hard to get a shutdown plan in place and now ...” joked Chairman Dan Lungren (R-Calif.). “I was never so popular as when I said the Members’ gym would be shut down.”
The plan may be useful yet. A protracted budget battle is sure to come and an actual shutdown is anything but impossible.
Leaving the Capitol, a weary Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid perhaps best summed up the feelings of Members, staffers and employees alike when asked what’s next.
“I’m going to have the weekend off,” the Nevada Democrat said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Thanks to the budget deal, at least until Thursday, so does the rest of the Congressional workforce.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.