The Senate starts at 2 p.m., and will begin with the annual reading of George Washington's farewell address to the nation.

Washington wrote his famous address in 1796, as his second term as president was winding down. The nation's first president made a point of warning against the rise of political parties, which he feared would lead to party divisions and bitter animosity among citizens.

"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism," Washington wrote. "But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.

"It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration," Washington said of party division. "It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection."

What then to guide the nation? "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports," he wrote.

That warning seems to have gone unheeded 218 years later. Today, a deep division exists between Republicans and Democrats over core issues like taxes, spending and the size and function of government. That split has led not only to several fiscal emergencies over the past few years, but an increasingly divided public that seems eager to politicize everything.

The Senate will honor Washington's words today by having Sen. Angus King (I-Vt.) read them aloud on the Senate floor. But on the issue of parties, King's reading will only honor them as a sort of unachievable ideal that's well out of reach of today's political leaders.

After the reading, the Senate will resume its feuding over Executive Branch nominations. At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will vote to end debate on the nomination of Jeffrey Meyer to be a U.S. district judge in Connecticut.

Earlier this month, Republicans objected to the quick confirmation of Meyer and four other judges. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) indicated that Republicans were protesting the Democratic decision to unilaterally change Senate rules to prevent Republicans from blocking nominations, and said he hopes Democrats pull back on its use of the so-called "nuclear option."

Because the nuclear option was triggered, the Senate should be able to vote to end debate on Meyer, since only a simple majority is needed, and that means no Republican support is needed. After that, a vote on Meyer's confirmation is expected later in the evening.

The Senate will then vote to end debate on the nomination of James Moody Jr. to be a U.S. district judge for Arkansas. The Senate will likely spend the first part of the week finishing these and two other judicial nominations.

The House is out, and returns Tuesday.