Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that he hopes to take a recess the week of Thanksgiving and the week after, but he warned that senators would need to cooperate to expedite work on the floor if that is to happen.
“We are going to try to take Thanksgiving week off and the week after,” Reid said. “We can’t do it if we are held up on procedural matters that are unnecessary.”
The Senate calendar currently only lists Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after as days off.
“This is a four-week work period; we are in the second week,” Reid continued. “We have certain things that we’ve outlined that need to get accomplished, and so I would hope that everyone understands things we have to get done this week, next week and the week after.”
Along with passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S 815) as soon as possible, Reid has also said he wants to consider a House-passed bill (HR 3204) that would expand the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of compounding pharmacies and create a national system of tracing drugs throughout the supply chain. He also wants to take up a jobs bill and the National Defense Authorization Act (S 1197).
Reid said the reason he wants to pack so much into this work period is that he wants to avoid the recent practice of dealing with major legislation in the final days and even final hours before Christmas.
“The reason we are pressing so much into this limited work schedule is, first of all, it’s necessary ... and, secondly, this Senate has worked over the last number of years really hard during the holidays,” Reid said, even to the point of catching Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve flights to return home for the holidays.
“I have done that twice, and it’s been extremely difficult for Christmas, Thanksgiving and of course [the] New Year,” Reid continued. “It’s wonderful to be able to go home to our families, our friends, but also we have work to do. We represent our states and there are things we can’t do when we can only go home for weekends.”
He also warned his colleagues that he could schedule votes over the next few weekends before the week of Thanksgiving in an effort to keep to his schedule. He noted that the Senate would be out Monday for Veterans Day.
“The issue at hand is this: We have a few weekends left, we are going to be out Monday because its Veterans Day, but all weekends until we leave here for Thanksgiving are going to be work weekends in order to get our work done,” Reid said.
Reid also said he hopes Republicans will not force the Senate to burn the entire 30 hours of debate that was triggered after the Senate voted to invoke cloture Monday on the motion to proceed to ENDA.
“There is no reason to eat up the whole 30 hours that are post-cloture,” Reid said. “It may impinge upon the holidays” and upcoming weekends.