Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that funding for teachers who may be laid off in the upcoming school year is an emergency that could require the House of Representatives to come back into session for quick passage.
The Nevada Democrat agreed with the assessment of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who told reporters that because the money is needed for a school year that is only weeks away, the House should probably come back into session.
Snowe was one of only two Republicans who helped Democrats beat back a GOP-led filibuster of a bill to provide $26 billion to states for education, first responders and Medicaid. The Senate is expected to pass the bill before the end of this week.
I think its going to be very difficult for the House to be away from Washington for five weeks ... without this legislation getting their stamp of approval, Reid said.
Asked whether he had spoken with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Reid said he had not since winning the vote Wednesday morning but that his staff has been in contact with her staff.
Im confident the House will do whatever they feel appropriate, he said.
Snowe said she voted for the bill even though she is troubled that the House left town last Friday for a six-week August recess.
Why is the House not coming back today to do this? she asked. I voted for it now because I think its important. But obviously the majority doesnt think its important enough to have the House here to finish it up.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.