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Gibbs: Congress Not Leaving This Week

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday what Hill staffers itching to leave town for the holidays don’t want to hear: The lame-duck session is likely to extend beyond this week.

“Getting out of here Friday or Saturday is probably not the day I’d pick in the pool,” Gibbs told reporters during a White House briefing. “I think you’ve got a few extra days to pull together those Christmas presents that you’ve put off buying.”

President Barack Obama is supposed to leave for Hawaii on Saturday, a day after the lame-duck session was scheduled to end. But Gibbs said Obama will stay in Washington, D.C., for as long as it takes lawmakers to wrap up all of their business, which includes votes on an $858 billion tax package, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, a continuing resolution to keep the government funded, the DREAM Act and a “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal.

“If Congress is here, the president will be here,” the White House spokesman said.

Gibbs also said some personnel announcements that were going to be made before Christmas now are not going to happen until after the lawmakers leave town.

“Because of the volume of the work that’s been done in the lame duck ... most of this is going to get pushed over,” he said.

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