Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been keeping the Senate open through most of the holiday breaks because he wanted to prevent President Bush from making recess appointments that bypass the Senate.
But now the economic crisis has given Reid has a real substantive reason to keep the Senate open through elections. On Wednesday afternoon, Reid said he will hold several pro-forma sessions _ quick open and shut sessions of the Senate chamber _ in order to allow Senate committees to conduct hearings and investigations into the Wall Street meltdown.
"We're going to keep the Senate in pro forma sessions, that way the committee structure will remain in place," Reid said.
Both chambers are scheduled to adjourn by Sept. 26 so lawmakers can go home and campaign for the Nov. 4 elections, but the pro-forma sessions will require at least a couple senators to stick around to gavel the sessions open and closed every other day.