The promise of the Capitol Christmas Tree is the only thing left shining on the Hill.
Congress has left the building -- in some cases left town for home. And left many unhappy.
Congress did not deliver the package many had hoped for this holiday season.
Tuesday, the House rejected the Senate compromise that would have extended the federal payroll tax holiday for two months. Without action by the New Year, millions of Americans will face a 2 percent tax increase. For those making $50,000 annually, they will pay about $1,000 more in taxes -- about $40 out of each paycheck every two weeks.
Congress failed to avoid a cut in the reimbursement rate for doctors who treat Medicare patients and is not extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.
At the District's Department of Employment Services, they estimate that 3,500 people will fall off the unemployment rolls in the next two weeks.
“As you can see right here, there are a lot of people that are really struggling,” Department of Employment Services Director Lisa Mallory said. “This is a bad economy for all of us -- for those of us that are working, for those many that are unemployed or underemployed.”
The Greater Washington Board of Trade said that the uncertainty created by Congress will hurt this region more than the rest of the country.
“Partly that’s because we have so much inner-relatedness with the federal government,” said Jim Dinegar, of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. “You have the real estate market, certainly the workforce, and as it relates to a lot of the uncertainty of the contracting community, all of that brings to bear people aren’t going to make the commitments for spending until they have some certainty moving forward as to whether or not there’s a there there.”