When senators voted Wednesday night to pass a temporary spending bill to keep the government funded through the new year, they were ready to leave behind Washington and all of its dysfunction to enjoy a brief holiday respite.
So suddenly it was on the Senate, which thought its work was done, to come back to Washington and start all over again.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) landed in Honolulu Thursday night only to turn around and take a red-eye flight back to Washington.
17 minute visit w the fam pic.twitter.com/ToRptAHUxD— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) December 21, 2018
And then, 11 hours later:
Wheels down IAD ready to vote no on this stupid wall.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) December 21, 2018
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) had a similar experience. He landed in Texas around 5 p.m. and then took a 5:25 a.m. flight back to Washington Friday.
Meanwhile, departing lawmakers had already sealed up their offices, archived their Senate Twitter accounts and said their final goodbyes. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who lost her seat in November, carved her name on her desk on the Senate floor and filmed a final goodbye from what she believed would be her last time there as a sitting senator.
But McCaskill was back at her old post Friday to vote.
As the Senate began to vote Friday afternoon, some senators were still en route to Washington. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was not expected back.
The disrupted holiday plans will probably not inspire too much sympathy from the public, given that this governing-by-crisis is getting old.
Lawmakers are also unlikely to receive very much compassion from the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who as of midnight Friday will either work without pay or be furloughed if the government shuts down.