All-nighter: A cranky Congress hams it up, then plods ahead

House Republicans and Democrats turned to friendly sparring at 10 p.m. Friday as they took jabs at each other over how long it has taken to complete work on the FY 2011 spending bill.

After a series of votes, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) reached an agreement to shorten consideration of each amendment to six minutes, instead of 10. Most of the House cheered, except for Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

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"If this is open government, I think I'm going to have to look for something else," Frank said to boos.

Cantor gently reminded Frank that Republicans had less time to debate spending just months ago. "I think the gentleman from Massachusetts may have somewhat of a short memory given that in December, we had a vote on a CR for one hour under a closed rule, so just a reminder," Cantor said.

Not to be outdone, Frank retorted: "I didn't know how long it was going to take my Republican friends to going from talking about their superior virtue to saying they were just like us. It took less time than I thought."



Despite Frank's comments, no one formally disagreed to the shorter debate time, and the deal was struck.


Cantor left unclear whether he would work into the early morning, or take a break and resume later on Saturday. He said Republicans have about 50 amendments that they still want to consider, and said 18 of these are subject to points of order.

Hoyer said Democrats had just three or four amendments left.

Upon hearing that the GOP still had 50 amendments, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) summed up the situation -- perhaps less cleverly, but it got the loudest cheer nonetheless.

"I hope some of you might think about doing what a lot of our members have done and decide not to offer your amendment so we can get the hell out of here," Dicks said.

More votes are expected around midnight.

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