For members of Congress eager for their winter break, it was a real D.C. Christmas miracle.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives was set to vote on a rule that would affect whether an enormous spending bill, colloquially known as the "CRomnibus," would pass in time to prevent a government shutdown.
And it all came down to a Santa Claus impersonator.
Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, an outgoing House member from Michigan, is a reindeer farmer in his spare time. And as a Republican, he was the final deciding vote on the rule, which he originally voted against.
With no time left and Democrats on the floor shouting for the vote to be called, Bentivolio was spotted approaching the front of the chamber. Within moments, the vote tally changed in favor of passage. As Bentivolio slowly ambled back up an aisle to the rear of the House chamber, he seemed to say nothing to members as he passed them.
The rule passed, 214-212.
As Bloomberg Politics' Dave Weigel noted:
Kerry Bentivolio, the retiring Michigan reindeer farmer, changed his vote and saved Christmas. I am not kidding.— daveweigel (@daveweigel) December 11, 2014
If the rule hadn't passed, it would have derailed the spending bill and made a possible government shutdown—or the need for members to work through Christmas—all that more likely.