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Congress: They're outta here

“Battle-weary members of Congress are coming soon to neighborhoods near you to press for re-election, more eager to campaign before angry constituents than compromise in Washington on tax cuts, child nutrition or a federal budget,” the AP writes.

“After pushing Democratic leaders for nearly three weeks to stop trying to find the one bill that could reverse the majority’s poor election prospects, vulnerable House and Senate Democrats finally got what they wanted: an early ticket home to campaign,” Roll Call writes. “But the party remains as divided as ever on its pre-election strategy, with some Members warning that Democrats will regret not drawing a sharper contrast with Republicans on middle-class tax cuts in particular.”

“House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday persuaded his GOP colleagues to pledge millions of dollars to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), according to lawmakers. Boehner pledged to give $1 million if members of his conference vowed to deliver $3 million,” The Hill reports. “And as the time came to call on members for donations, Boehner pointed to an individual standing next to the entrance to the meeting room and said, ‘Block the doors. Nobody’s leaving.’ Within 35 minutes, the NRCC had raised more than $4 million in pledges from members, including Boehner’s check for $1 million.”

By a 228-194 margin, the “House passed a temporary spending measure needed to keep federal agencies operating when the new budget year starts Friday.”

Sen. Al “Franken suffered another embarrassing moment Wednesday morning when he mistakenly recognized Sen. Tom Udall as the ‘senator from Utah.’ Udall quickly corrected Franken by noting that he’s from New Mexico. ‘Oh, God,’ Franken boomed into his microphone. ‘I’m sorry.’ ‘The senator from New Mexico,’ Franken said, emphasizing ‘New Mexico’ to make up for his mistake.”

“Congress approved a blueprint for NASA's future Wednesday that extends the life of the space shuttle program for a year while backing President Barack Obama's intent to use commercial carriers to lift humans into near-Earth space,” the AP says. “The bill passed by the House on a 304-118 vote brings major changes to NASA's space agenda: It dismantles the Constellation program under which former President George W. Bush sought to return astronauts to the moon, and extends the life of the International Space Station from 2015 to 2020. The Senate passed the measure last month.”