Top Ten Ways You Can Tell Congress is Out of Session

Both the House and Senate return to session early next week after the longest Congressional recess in recent memory. The House left town in late July. The Senate stuck around for a week in August to confirm Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. But both chambers returned to Washington for abbreviated sessions.

There’s a distinctly different air on Capitol Hill when Congress isn’t in session. The Capitol doesn’t hum like it does when lawmakers and staff are bustling between meetings and votes. Brooks Brothers suits and heels are left in the closet as shorts and sandals are the de rigueur.

That all changes again Monday. But here’s a farcical look at the telltale signs that Congress is out on a long recess.

10)  No gaggle of reporters waiting outside the office of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY).

9)    No gaggle of reporters waiting outside the office of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

8)    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and   

Olympia Snowe (R-ME) off speed-dial for the month.

7)    Dozens of Post Offices remain unnamed.

6)    No nebula of cigarette smoke is emanating from the Capitol office of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH).

5)   All is quiet at the C Street House.

4)   Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) isn’t holding a press conference.

3)   No one was in the office to even notice the stupid outfit the intern wore.

2)   Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) traded in her Manolo Blahnik slingbacks

for flip-flops.

1)  With Congress out of session, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has no one to berate in the House gym.