Washington (CNN) - Days of caucuses, leadership elections, freshman hellos, "what you thought would happen, did happen" news conferences and a few significant, but not conclusive, votes have kept Capitol Hill staff and reporters scrambling this week.
But aside from scattered House and Senate votes (food safety, unemployment compensation and the Medicare 'doc fix'), the hefty Washington news was elsewhere - in the action by and reaction to the Federal Reserve's latest rescue plan.
"Quantitative Easing" is perhaps the most unlikely catchphrase of the year, after the Federal Reserve announced a second round of the policy. Since then, economists and politicians from across the spectrum have started ringing in on so-dubbed "QE2" with the passion reserved for a major quarterback switch. But what is it?
This is the kind of topic CNN will take on in a new weekly podcast called "American Sauce." The idea is to ignore the blame game and finger-pointing in Washington and focus on substance - in a compelling, relatable, hip and thoroughly modern way, of course.
We boil down what's in the bills, what are the real options, what it means and why it matters in about 20 minutes.
This week host Lisa Desjardins lays out the basics of Quantitative Easing in front of an audience of two, (a business professor and his MBA padawan), selected specifically to make sure she is not oversimplifying nor leaving out any important points of view.
For those who can't wait until Monday, here is a little QE2 101: Quantitative Easing is a policy in which the Federal Reserve creates billions of dollars in new money and passes that money onto banks, in the hopes of easing the credit crunch and sparking a new wave of lending. In theory, it could bring down interest rates, allowing for more home refinancing and business expansion and send hundreds of billions of dollars to the stock market.
But critics, from economist Allan Meltzer to Tea Party heroine Sarah Palin, point to the risks of the policy: It could spur another speculative bubble on Wall Street, cause significant inflation, infuriate economic allies and it may not work.
This week's American Sauce also brings you the major headlines that appeared in small print, the news items that have significant impact but which got little coverage.
And as Congress leaves for Thanksgiving break, we ask, "Does Congress need to meet in Washington? Do we have the technology for a telecommuting Congress?"
The show is dedicated to looking at Washington in a new way: focusing on the substance of issues, asking unexpected questions and relaying what the debates mean to people around the country.
American Sauce: coming Monday.