What Lies Behind a Slow News Day

Fridays are often slow news days in the capital, and today is no exception. Aside from some talk of a third Republican in the Obama Cabinet and the RNC chairman’s race, few major storylines are unspooling at the moment — part of the reason for that is the House GOP’s departure for their annual retreat in the mountain town of Hot Springs, Virginia.

But in another sense, the relative quiet of a slow news Friday is a Washington cultural tradition.When Congress eschews votes and major moves on Fridays, lawmakers are free to return to their districts to conduct local business on weekends. (After all, House members are technically always in re-election mode.)

After the congressional work week shrank to essentially three days — Tuesday through Thursday — under GOP rule, Democrats campaigned in 2006 on a platform of hustling back to a Monday-through-Friday schedule. Those ambitions were scaled back a bit by 2008

The schedule for this year continues in that vein, with Congress planning to return on periodic Mondays and Fridays but largely leaving room for the occasional slow news cycle, when aides and reporters alike can take a long-overdue deep breath.