Lights Out on Congress

A budget deal is cut after Reagan pulls the plug on Republicans

As the Senate prepared to convene in regular morning session last Tuesday, a cable failure at an electrical substation suddenly cut power in a square-mile section of Washington, including the Capitol building. Office workers groped through dim hallways toward daylit exits, subway trains coasted into motionlessness, and tourists stood around in knots, prevented by guards from entering the darkened Capitol. But no mere utility collapse could be allowed to shut down the U.S. Senate. Under the pallid glow of a lone emergency light, the lawmakers went about their business as usual. Since the bells normally used to call the Senate to...

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