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The Congress That Won’t Take a Break

Just when you thought it was safe to take a vacation in August, the Senate announced it will return to Washington to reconvene for a short session on Thursday to vote on border security funding and a remembrance of the late former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who died in a plane crash on Monday.

This follows the lead of the House, which interrupted its recess briefly on Tuesday. House members were summoned back to Washington earlier this week to pass a $26 billion package of what Democratic leaders called emergency legislation for state education aid and increased Medicaid payments from the federal government to help alleviate state budget crises. To the Democrats’ chagrin, the House floor was hijacked for almost an hour by Rep. Charles Rangel.

Prior to the Rangel drama, the House passed the $600 million border security bill, setting up the Senate to do the same. When the Senate completes legislative business on Thursday, it will also include a resolution honoring the service of former Sen. Stevens. Leaders say the “very short session” will draw the summer session to a close and Congress will not reconvene again until Sept.13.