Sorry Senate, July 4th’s Recess May Be Off: Democrats Huddle This Afternoon To Discuss

By Eliza

Jun 29, 2011 2:27pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller (@sunlenmiller) reports:

The Senate was set to go on a previously scheduled July 4th holiday recess next week.   But the message from President Obama was pretty clear today: stay in Washington DC, and get the debt negotiations done before any vacations, Congress.

“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 today.

Democratic sources say the Senate Democratic leadership is currently considering whether they will stay in town, and forgo their planned recess next week in light of the debt ceiling discussions that have hit an impasse. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called a special meeting with the Democratic caucus today where they will discuss next week and make a decision about the schedule.

That meeting will follow the Democratic leadership’s meeting at the White House with President Obama this afternoon, slated for 3 pm – where likely President Obama will reiterate to Speaker of the House Reid, Senator Durbin, Senator Schumer and Senator Murray – his preference, as stated in his press conference, for them to keep working.

One Republican took to the Senate floor almost immediately after the president’s press conference today to call for the Senate to stay in town next week.

“Until we work on a budget, until we work on the debt limit—until we work on the people’s business—we have no right to adjourn this body,” Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said on the floor today, “To do so would be to fail the public once again.”

Weeks ago Republicans asked Majority Leader Reid not to adjourn the Senate until there was action on a budget.

As they did for the Memorial Day recess, the Senate was already was opting to conduct a “pro forma” session next week instead of formally adjoining for recess, after Republican concerns that President Obama could use that time for recess appointments, which the pro-forma session could prevent.

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.

With the President’s calls today for members of Congress to hunker down and work this out – the pressure on the Senate to stay in session, stay in Washington and stay working is increasing by the moment.


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