House suspends votes for rest of week, Senate may be out starting Wednesday

Inclement weather will force House lawmakers to suspend votes for the remainder of this week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced on Tuesday.

Hoyer said that after consulting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) it became clear that Tuesday's snowstorm was preventing too many members from returning to Washington.

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Hoyer said that the airlines - which have already cancelled hundreds of flights as the second major storm in less than a week makes its way across the midwest toward Washington DC - more or less made the decision for House leaders.

The House will keep to its scheduled recess next week, meaning the next House vote will be the following week.

Hoyer - one of a handful of members in the Capitol - told reporters Tuesday morning that he planned to move scheduled votes up a day to Monday, Feb. 22. He added that it was possible that the House would meet on Friday, Feb. 19.

Despite having just returned from a bipartisan White House meeting to discuss the economy, jobs and healthcare, the first three questions that Hoyer fielded were about the back-to-back storms, and about road conditions and snow removal.

Asked if there would be a need for federal aid for the District, Hoyer said; "There may be. After all, this is the federal city.

The House will stay in session and vote on Friday, Feb. 26, to make up for lost time. This will give lawmakers sufficient time to tackle "a jobs bill and other critical measures," Hoyer said in a statement.

The Senate has not announced any schedule changes to Tuesday's schedule as a result of the impending snowstorm, which could dump another 10 to 20 inches on the already buried Capitol.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate may be out of session Wednesday because of the snow.

Reid used his opening statement as the Senate convened Tuesday to explain that he has yet to agree with Senate GOP leaders on a voting schedule for Tuesday afternoon. The chamber is scheduled to vote on the controversial nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board, and Reid said the vote may be held open for a prolonged period of time.

"The issue before the Senate today is what we do with Mother Nature," Reid said. "Mother Nature has been very difficult to deal with... We are contemplating, if we can work out the procedural difficulties, not being in session tomorrow."

Reid said he still hopes to secure an agreement on a vote on a job-growth package this week, most likely on Thursday. He said decisions would be made on the chamber's schedule "in the next few hours."

The Senate is scheduled to be in recess next week to observe President's Day.

The upper chamber is also scheduled to vote Tuesday evening on Joseph Greenway's nomination for U.S. Circuit judge.

This story was updated at 2:33 p.m.

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