U.S. Capitol
It's late August in Washington, which means lawmakers and other key policy makers are on vacation -- or are simply away from The District in an effort to avoid D.C.'s notorious August heat and humidity. REUTERS/Larry Downing

-Federal Government: The Obama administration has already requested that department and agency heads submit fiscal 2013 budgets with a 5 percent cut, The Associated Press reported. White House officials also want the heads to propose ways to cut 10 percent of their spending

-Politics: There's chatter on Capitol Hill of a revised Congressional Democratic communications strategy, a source familiar with Hill matters told International Business Times. Apparently, several key Democrats are upset that the Democratic House and Senate leaderships didn't do a better job coordinating their responses, which lessened their impact versus the onslaught of the unified House GOP. The House Repubs successfully structured the debate this past session away from the U.S.'s high 9.1 percent unemployment rate and toward deficit reduction. Key Dems apparently want a quicker, more-unified response as the 2012 election year begins.

-Public Policy/Capitol Hill: We're at the end of summer -- these are the last two weeks of August -- hence aside from those hard-working Capitol Hill staffers and civil servants, the nation's capitol remains on vacation. The Supreme Court has been out of town for weeks, the House and Senate are in recess, and President Barack Obama is taking his annual vacation, this year at Martha's Vineyard. Tourists abound, of course, but bring plenty of water with you, if you plan on walking to many of Washington's popular monuments and museums amid the region's notorious heat and humidity.

-Campaign 2012: Gov. Rick Perry's, R-Texas, entrance in to the 2012 Republican presidential nomination race re-ordered the GOP nod's standings, and the talk is that most Capitol Hill pros given him a better-than-50-percent chance of capturing the nomination, in what could become a veritable dogfight with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the to-date frontrunner. The real loser, among the top-tier candidates, as a result of Perry's entrance? U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.: Bachmann will have to demonstrate that she is the authentic voice of the Tea Party faction in order to counter Perry's strong conservative credentials, standing among Christian conservatives, and executive experience.