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Pay No Attention To That Legislative Calendar

While most of the real world takes deadlines seriously _ April 15 for taxes to name just one _ Congress seems to have a habit of making its own rules when it comes to deadlines.

Today, for example, marks what Capitol Hill watchers call a "target adjournment date." This date, marked on House calendars has always been a laughable concept since Congress never adjourns by the targeted date. The Senate has been a bit more realistic with its 2007 calendar, but even the Senate's target date of Nov. 16 is looking like wishful thinking.

To be sure, those of us in The Crypt who cover Congress, along with thousands of Hill staff, would be delighted if lawmakers just turned out the lights for the year and adjourned.

But alas, this Congress has not passed any appropriations bills _ another blown deadline considering  fiscal year 2008 began on Oct. 1 _ so there's still plenty of work to do. Most observers believe Congress will be here well into December.

But don't blame the Democrats _ the Republican Congress last year adjourned on Dec. 9, and the year before, the Senate kept its legislative fires burning until nearly midnight on Dec. 21.