Finance Column » Your Money This Week » Love may not be in the air in DC

Love may not be in the air in DC

By Mark Hamrick ·
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Posted 3 pm ET

Between the "warts-and-all" transparency afforded by the Internet and still-challenging economic times, there's an added encumbrance to love this Valentine's Day around the nation's capital. Well, actually, the U.S. Capitol.

A takeaway is that one might as well forget trying to send to the halls of Congress a last-minute gift of longstemmed roses, or candy or whatever else might strike one's romantic fancy.

The sergeant-at-arms is reported to have sent an email to Senate administrative staff last week, reminding them of the tough scrutiny given to packages sent via UPS, FedEx and DHL. According to CQ Roll Call, those packages are held at an off-site mail and package testing facility for about 72 hours before making it to Capitol Hill. As the report notes, that's just about long enough to wilt even the priciest collection of Valentine's Day flowers. Cupid's arrow might not make it through the metal detectors.

This is the post 9/11, post-anthrax attack reality in Washington.

Of course, aside from the security measures in place, one doesn't have to look far to find evidence of no love lost among elected leaders in Washington. After all, this is a city where the focus now is on the so-called sequester, a series of automatic spending cuts set to take effect next month. For both sides to agree on broad-based fiscal reform to head that off, it might take something akin to a localized version of climate change.

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