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Analysis: Hill Staffers Focus On Congressional Work Before Election

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The halls of Capitol Hill will be a bit quieter this week. Lawmakers have headed home until after the November elections. But that doesn't mean business is coming to a screeching halt either. David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing talks about the week ahead.

Hawkings on what Congressional staffers will be up to between now and the lame duck session: "There will be some, mainly the staff who work for the committees and for the leadership who will be working to get ready for the lame duck. There's a long list of things they're going to try to do, the so-called fiscal cliff, first and foremost among them. So there will be some back-channel low-hanging fruit negotiations at the staff level. Many staffers for individual members, especially those who are running for reelection and who are being challenged for reelection will be staying in Washington, and doing the business of congressional staff work."

Hawkings on how he thinks the election results could influence the lame duck session: "You are always running a big risk when you disagree with Bill Clinton on political strategy and things like that. And I would agree with him. I think whoever dominates the presidential election, and whoever dominates the election both for Congress and the presidency will have an upper hand in the lame duck. I think at some level there is some frustration that this has now gone on for two years -- this fiscal standoff -- and both sides are looking for the voters to essentially tell them which side needs to compromise.

Hawkings on the current outlook for Maryland's sixth Congressional district between Republican incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Democratic businessman John Delaney: "That is one of only a handful of races that my colleagues on the Roll Call political staff rate as essentially a takeover by the other party favored. John Delany is heavily favored to win at this point. Not out of the question that Roscoe Bartlett could still pull it off, but it is a rare case of Republican incumbent becoming a significant underdog in his own seat."

Listen to the full analysis here.

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