Open For Business

Even though many thousands of people are still without power in the Washington, D.C. area after Hurricane Irene, the federal government will be open for business as usual on the final Monday in August.

"Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN," said a note posted late Sunday on the web site of the Office of Personnel Management, which is basically the HR arm of Uncle Sam.

While Irene left a trail of damage from the Carolinas to New England, the Beltway region wasn't as badly slammed as in 2003, when Hurricane Isabel brought the D.C. area to a stop.

As usual, the power at my house went out as the winds increased on Saturday night - but instead of the five day outage from Isabel - we were back on by Sunday afternoon.

"This restoration process is being conducted strategically and with full force," said Thomas Graham of PEPCO, a power company which has taken increasing flak from citizens of Washington, D.C. and Maryland in recent years over the company's inability to keep the lights on.

And with hundreds of thousands of customers still out on Sunday night, there might be some government workers who find the lights won't be on at their place of work today.

"There may be isolated instances in which federal buildings will still be without power on Monday," an OPM statement said.

"Therefore, you may wish to check with your agency or your supervisor concerning the status of your workplace."

Because Irene slid by the Washington area, mass transit here in D.C. did not shut down as in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, meaning Monday's commute hopefully won't be much different than a normal day.

President Obama is back at the White House for this work week.  He cut short his vacation in Martha's Vineyard by a day because of Irene.

The Congress though is off for another week. Lawmakers aren't due back at the Capitol until after Labor Day, which is next Monday.