Health Bill Steals Xmas for Senate Staffers
Marathon debate saps festive spirit on Capitol Hill
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2009 1:44 AM CST
Sen. Russ Feingold checks on the snow from near the Senate floor on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
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(Newser) – The first Christmas Eve vote scheduled in over 40 years has left the mood on Capitol Hill far from festive for senators and their hundreds of staffers. Aides and analysts hoping to spend Christmas with their families now face the prospect of being stuck in the capital on Christmas Day. Frustrated Republican staffers have started wishing each other a "Harry Harry, Christmas," referring to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, while Democrats grumble about the GOP's delaying tactics.

Senators and their staffers have yet to take a day off in December. Many working around the clock have survived on takeaway food for weeks, and Christmas shopping has had to be done at the Senate gift shop. "Everyone's getting a United States Senate mug for Christmas this year," one aide to a Democratic senator tells the Washington Post.