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Lawmakers who were looking forward to a picnic at the White House this month can blame Syria for the cancellation of its annual barbecue. According to Politico, the event, to which lawmakers usually bring their families, was scheduled for September 18, but cancelled when the administration assumed Congress "would be consumed by the debate over Syria."

The annual event is known for hosting bipartisan good times. Like this, from 2011: 

 (That's Press Secretary Jay Carney, and Speaker John Boehner. Photo: AP)

Via the New York Times, here's the short announcement from the White House, sent to legislators on Wednesday in an email: 

Good evening,

The 2013 Congressional Picnic has been cancelled. The president and Mrs. Obama look forward to welcoming members of Congress and their immediate families at the Congressional Holiday Ball in December. More details regarding the Congressional Holiday Ball will follow at a later date.

Thank you,
White House Office of Legislative Affairs

Even though the White House says it will now allow lawmakers to bring family to the annual holiday party as a consolation prize, the cancellation is potentially an own-goal assist, tapped right to lawmakers who are still coming off the high of seeing the president's plan to get congressional authorization for a Syria strike stalled: 

The September date for the barbecue was actually the second date set this year for the annual event. In June, the White House moved the barbecue because of scheduling conflicts.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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