RESTORING REGULAR ORDER: There was a time in Washington when certain committee chairmanships held such power the lawmakers who held them could accurately be described as some of the most powerful people in Washington. But "as Congress has turned into a partisan battlefield, lurching from crisis to crisis, the difficult, tedious, careful work of writing legislation has been replaced by hurried, haphazard deals brokered at the edge of disaster with brinkmanship and confrontation," Paul Kane writes in The Washington Post. Congressional leadership has taken over the process. Now, a group of House chairmen are trying to bring "regular order" back to Congress. Regular order is Washington speak for how things are supposed to work — the best depiction of regular order might just be theSchoolhouse Rock song "I'm just a bill." Paul Kane for The Washington Post: Congress's committee chairmen push to reassert their power
WORK TOGETHER TO BEAT UNCERTAINTY: While there are signs that the economy is moving in the right direction, Washington gridlock is preventing a full recovery, Tom Friedman writes in The New York Times. In times of uncertainty, America's citizens have historically turned to Washington. But as people lose faith that lawmakers can work together to create a plan that puts country first, citizens are starting to take matters into their own hands: Tom Friedman for The New York Times: How To Unparalyze Us
CONTINGENCY PLAN: The defense industry is no longer lobbying to prevent the blind, automatic cuts set to take effect March 1. No one in Washington thinks lawmakers can reach a deal by then. The new industry strategy is to get the cuts reversed as soon as they take effect, minimizing the damage. Congress is out of town this week, but lawmakers have spent more time blaming the opposite parties for the sequester than actually working toward a deal. That might be an effective strategy to win points in the next election, but it is no way to govern a country: Jeremy Herb for The Hill: Defense industry shifts focus to minimize damage from sequester
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STAT OF THE DAY: The cherry blossoms start blooming in Washington D.C. in 20 days — and with that starts the busiest tourist season of the year in Washington. If the blind spending cuts go into effect March 1, $1.6 million will be slashed from the park's $32 million budget. Lisa Rein for The Washington Post: National park advocates pressing Congress to prevent deep budget cuts