Obama will visit Chicago for en event on the economy Friday morning, and then head to Florida for Presidents Day weekend. Earnest said there was "no work on the schedule" during Obama's trip.

The trip comes less than two weeks before the sequester — $85 billion in automatic cuts are expected to hit across the federal government — is set to trigger. Both the president and congressional leaders of both sides have warned that if the sequester is allowed to happen, it could have a profound and damaging effect on the economy. But while Democrats are insisting on a package that includes spending cuts and the elimination of some tax breaks and loopholes to offset the cuts, Republicans say they are unwilling to accept anything other than a package of only spending cuts.

Obama's last vacation — a Christmas trip to Hawaii — came despite congressional leaders having not yet struck a bargain on the "fiscal cliff." At that point, Obama suggested lawmakers use the break to get some perspective.

"I'd ask every member of Congress while they're back home to think about that. Think about the obligations we have to the people who sent us here," Obama said at the time.