After a short nap, then, they funded Homeland Security on 10/1. Then nothing until 11/10 - not the VA appropriation like you might find fitting, but the Interior. That endeavor exhausted them until 11/22, when they funded a the Military Construction package and 12/1, when they squeezed out the Energy and Water Development bill before getting caught up in the holiday whirl. And they know how to celebrate - they're not even due back in the office before the 20th of this month, January of 2004.
This leaves seven appropriations bills hanging. That's a majority, by my count. Agriculture, Commerce/Justice, District of Colombia, Foreign Ops, Labor/Health/Education, Transportation/Treasury, and Veterans/Housing/NASA/EPA.
The relevance of my earlier lack of Spaceward Ho! faith to the final entry in the list there will be left as an exercise for the reader.
Yes, we're going to put humans on Mars by just thinking about it *really* *really* *hard*. Hey, it worked for John Carter - he was president of the US during our last big space exploration, right?