As sequester looms, House, Senate vote to recess for the week

The House and Senate each voted Friday to recess for the Presidents Day week, which means lawmakers will have just four days — once they return — to deal with the $85 billion sequester due to take effect March 1.

ADVERTISEMENT
House Republicans have said they will not act on any bill to avoid the sequester until the Senate does first. Senate Democrats have proposed a bill to replace the sequester with a plan that shifts and reduces the planned cuts, and includes new tax increases.

But with the Senate out, the first chance for a vote on that bill, and a Republican alternative, will be Feb. 25.

House Democrats have spent the week arguing that the House should not recess for the week, so that it can work on a sequester replacement plan. But the House voted 222-190 on Friday morning to recess next week — every Democrat voted against it, along with just four Republicans.

Within the hour, the Democratic-led Senate agreed to that same resolution, H.Con.Res. 5, by unanimous consent.

After the House adjourns Friday, both the House and Senate will return at 2 p.m. Feb. 25.