Magazine article Insight on the News

Congressional Staffers Have Nowhere to Work from. (News Alert!)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Congressional Staffers Have Nowhere to Work from. (News Alert!)

Article excerpt

On Oct. 17 congressional cheers could be heard over the announcement by House Speaker Denny Hastert of Illinois that the lower chamber would be closed pending further investigation into potential anthrax threats. Since congressmen are in the habit of flying home to their districts after the last votes are called on Thursdays or Fridays, closing the House didn't affect their schedules that much, say aides. "How is this different from what members do every week? They vote for two or three days and then fly home," says one congressional aide. "It's the staff that really has no idea what to do."

With House offices closed, staffers are doing the grunt work of government by banding together in apartments with fax machines and Internet connections. "It's different, but business as usual. This isn't like a snow day or a vacation," says Jonathan Dean, spokesman for Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.).

Morella, for one, has moved most of her congressional staff to her Maryland office. But for those offices outside of driving range, things haven't been so easy. There have been a few stray reports of staff meetings taking place in Capitol Hill watering holes with documents spread across the bar. …

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