Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid found himself once again forced to call off his scheduled Monday evening votes, but this time the Nevada Democrat didn't blame his fellow senators for the shoddy attendance.
That's because the culprit was something Reid can't control: the weather. The D.C. area experienced significant amounts of ice overnight, and flight delays and cancellations continued into the day Monday.
"Because of the myriad of problems with the weather, there are senators stranded even from last night trying to get here, so we're going to have to put off the votes this afternoon. We are going to have no votes this afternoon," Reid said.
The situation's different from the last time Reid had attendance issues on a Monday, when he had to postpone a planned vote in late October that came as the Senate returned from the recess that followed the government shutdown.
"We're not going to have morning business in the morning," Reid said. "There'll be no morning business."
It's not unusual for the Senate to skip the time for general speeches known "morning business" — just as it is not unusual for "morning business" to take place well into the afternoon.
The first vote in line is confirmation of Patricia Ann Millett to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She's one of several nominees now on a glide path to confirmation with Democrats having deployed the "nuclear option" to eliminate the 60-vote requirement to break filibusters on most nominees.
It wasn't immediately clear how early the Senate might convene Tuesday. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for the region, with 3 to 5 inches of snow forecast as another band of storms moves through.
"I apologize to everyone for the late notice, but we've been trying to scramble around to see if we'd have enough participation here tonight," Reid said. "Most people have been able to do it, but there are some people — certainly it's not their fault that they, some of them started last night to try to get here and still aren't here."