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Update: Washington Getting Ready to Shut Down again Tuesday

Federal agencies in the Washington area will be closed for a second straight day Tuesday, the Office of Personnel Management announced Monday evening.

Congress was hoping to be back in business Tuesday, despite a curtailed schedule and postponements caused by last weekend's storm. But even that brave plan was unraveling as predictions of another wintry wallop caused cooler heads to prevail.

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House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer announced late Monday that the House of Representatives, which was expecting to begin doing real business Tuesday evening, had canceled all roll call votes for the day.

"We remain focused on completing our work for the week, but will assess the state of the weather tomorrow (Tuesday) and move forward accordingly," Hoyer said in a statement.

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With predictions of 10 to 20 inches of snow in the capital region, Congress will be lucky to get anything done this week before.....their next vacation, which is next week! (The all-important Presidents Day break, in which snow-battered politicians will head for some of the sunniest spots on Earth--watch this spot tomorrow for news about where one of Maryland's leading elected officials will be globe-trotting).

Even before the snow forecasts grew more dire, senators had pushed their weekly policy lunches, usually held on Tuesday, back to Wednesday. That was just one indication that many senators might not make it back to Washington by noon--if at all.

Several Senate committees that had hearings planned have postponed them. At 5 p.m. Tuesday, the Senate is scheduled to hold two roll-call votes, on the confirmation of an appeals court nominee from New Jersey and to end a Republican filibuster over the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. We'll see if that happens.

Hoyer was to hold his weekly press conference on Tuesday afternoon, instead of in the morning as previously announced. The House did not meet on Monday and is scheduled to go into session Tuesday afternoon. But with a very light slate of committee hearings and no votes to worry about, it's likely that many congressmen will take a snow day.

House activity could be further curtailed because of the death Monday of one of its most powerful members, Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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