A 24-Hour Blackout in the Senate

Posted November 17, 2008 at 5:41pm

The Senate will not be open for any legislative business Tuesday, as Democrats navigate the way forward on a massive economic stimulus package that would provide funding for infrastructure projects, unemployment insurance benefits and other programs.

Because of Senate rules, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is temporarily shutting down the chamber to bypass floor time, so that the stimulus bill can be taken up when the Senate reopens Wednesday morning.

But both Democrats and Republicans will be in the Capitol on Tuesday to elect their leadership teams for the 111th Congress and to resolve intraparty disputes over Sens. Joseph Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). Democrats are wrestling with whether to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, while Republicans are weighing whether to oust Stevens, recently convicted on seven felony counts, from their Conference.

The Senate will turn the lights back on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.