In the Parallel Universe That is the House of Representatives, September Never Ended

It is the first day of October. The air is crisp in Washington, Halloween is close to, and sure, it’s time for that very same Inexperienced Day joke about September ending.

However in the House of Representatives, it is nonetheless Sept. 30.

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Democratic leaders moved Thursday evening to delay a deliberate vote on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure invoice, in addition they successfully stopped time, hitting a legislative “pause” button that was aimed toward placating the average wing of their occasion.

Solely in Congress, which is ruled by arcane guidelines and traditions that usually function like a parallel actuality, is it attainable to increase a day for greater than 24 hours. In this case, by protecting the House in recess on Thursday evening, as a substitute of adjourning because it does at the finish of most days, leaders had been in a position to hold the chamber in the Sept. 30 legislative day, regardless of the precise passage of time.

It allowed lawmakers, aides and White House officers who had toiled all day to succeed in an elusive deal amongst warring Democratic factions on President Biden’s flagship home coverage invoice to go dwelling for a number of hours of sleep with out formally calling it quits. And it smoothed the path for leaders pushing to strike a compromise on Friday to go instantly to the ground for a vote as quickly as they attain a breakthrough.

However the greater motive for Ms. Pelosi’s calendar trick was political. She had promised a gaggle of average Democrats who demanded a vote on the infrastructure invoice this week that it could see motion by Sept. 30. By refusing to permit Oct. 1 to roll round, Ms. Pelosi was upholding her dedication in the very most technical of methods, and providing the moderates a fig leaf to cowl for the failure to safe the vote they’d been promised.

“It ain’t over but! This is only one lengthy legislative day — we actually aren’t adjourning,” Consultant Josh Gottheimer, Democrat of New Jersey and a number one proponent of the infrastructure measure, wrote on Twitter late Thursday night. “Negotiations are nonetheless ongoing, and we’re persevering with to work. As I mentioned earlier: grabbing some Gatorade and Purple Bull.”

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