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Reid Threatens to Keep Senate Scheduled Until Christmas (Video)

Reid controls the Senate schedule — for now. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the Senate returned from the Thanksgiving break, Majority Leader Harry Reid was already encouraging colleagues to act quickly to complete work for the year.  

While both the House and the Senate would like to complete activity for the lame-duck session by the end of next week, the Nevada Democrat — who will cede the majority leader's post when this Congress ends — was already warning legislative work could approach Christmas.  

"We need to work on reauthorizing defense authorization legislation. We have a lot to do, and there isn't much time to accomplish it. So, I encourage all senators to work hard to complete our work in a timely and efficient fashion. We may have to be here the week before Christmas, and hopefully ... not into the Christmas holiday," Reid said. "But, there are things we have to get done."  

Reid said he spoke Monday with Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz about seven pending nominations within his department. If Senate Democrats want to confirm as many of President Barack Obama's nominees as possible before the situation on the ground changes with the arrival of the Republican majority in the new Congress, they would have an incentive to stay as long as possible.

The more contentious nominees begin moving Monday evening, when the Senate is scheduled to hold a pair of debate-limiting votes on would-be ambassadors with political and fundraising backgrounds.

The more immediate business is reaching an agreement on legislation to fund the government past Dec. 11, as well as a revival of lapsed tax breaks. Negotiations on both matters were ongoing as of Monday afternoon.  

"We may have to be here a third week and everyone should understand that. Our most important task at hand is to pass bills to fund our government, to keep it from shutting down. We have a number of very important nominations that must be confirmed. We need to consider an extension of tax cuts for working families and business, and we're going to work hard," Reid said. "I've had a conversation already today with Sen. [Ron] Wyden on that."  

   

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