Senate’s In Session Next Week: Reid Cancels 4th of July Recess

By Eliza

Jun 30, 2011 10:05am

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller (@sunlenmiller) reports:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has officially cancelled next week’s 4th of July recess for the Senate to continue the ongoing deficit and debt negotiations. 

“It is often said that with liberty comes responsibility,” Senator Reid, D-NV., said on the Senate floor this morning, “We should take that responsibility seriously. I’m confident we do. That’s why the Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, the day after the 4th. We’ll do that because we have work to do.”

Reid has scheduled a “bed-check” vote for the afternoon of Tuesday July 5th to make sure that all Senators are back on Capitol Hill by that time. 

“There’s still so much to do to put Americans back to work, to cut our deficit and our economy back to work,” Reid said, “It is really important that we do this. That moment is too important, the obstacle is too steep and the time too short to waste even moment.”

The move comes after a stern message from President Obama at his press conference Wednesday in which he called on Congress to stay and work rather than go on a holiday as the calendar flips closer with each day to the August 2nd administration’s deadline for action to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

“If by the end of this week, we have not seen substantial progress, then I think members of Congress need to understand, we are going to, you know, start having to cancel things and stay here until we get it done,” President Obama said yesterday.

Similarly, Senate Republicans yesterday called on Senate Majority Leader Reid to keep the Senate in session next week, wondering why – in the middle of a debt crisis – the Senators would be allowed to return back to their states to have a holiday.

The Senate would have been out from Monday July 4th to Friday July 10th. Senators will now be expected to be in Washington, DC on Tuesday for session.

Many Senators, sensing late last night that it was a foregone conclusion that they’d be working next week urged the leadership to actually set a schedule that would be helpful to the debt negotiations.

“Let’s not be here just to be here. Let’s be on the floor debating in a constructive way,” Senator Vitter, R-LA., said yesterday.

“Is the Senate actually going to get serious about doing things?,” Senator Mikulski, D-MD., wondered,  “Being here while all we do is huff and puff and blow the deficit away is just posturing. It’s posturing and politics. We have to be serious about really developing the right policies so that we can be serious about what we need to do.”

The House and Senate have schedules that keep them out of town on different weeks for much of the summer, which have complicated debt ceiling talks already. The House, who took recess this week, will be back and working next week as previously scheduled.

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