The House has no plans to be in Friday, the day the sequester is due to take effect. But there seems little likelihood that any bill could be passed before then — the Senate is not expected to get very far with a Democratic proposal to replace the sequester, and President Obama and congressional leaders plan to meet Friday, after the cuts have already taken effect.
"It is long past time for the Senate to wake from its slumber, respond to the clarion call of the American people, and pass a sequestration solution," he said.
But he also said he is "troubled" by House GOP plans to only work 24 days in March and April.
Brooks was one of several members of the House to lament the absence of a solution to the sequester on Wednesday. As expected, the brief morning debate on the House floor was mostly split along party lines.
Rep. Roger WilliamsRoger WilliamsThe Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan A guide to the committees: House Applause for bipartisan Texans in Congress working to promote pet adoption MORE (R-Texas), for example, blamed Obama for the sequester and said the Senate has shown it cannot deal with the issue at all.
"We shouldn't have to move a third bill in the House before the Senate finally acts," Williams said.
Democrats largely outlined the various problems the sequester would cause across a range of federal agencies, and blamed Republicans for refusing to agree to a compromise that involves higher taxes.
"I stand here today in absolute disappointment with this body and the total lack of Republican leadership," said Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.). "I can't even begin to express the disappointment I have with the GOP leaders, who choose to play a game of chicken rather than do something to save two million American jobs."
During morning remarks, Reps. Payne, Gloria Negrette McLeod (D-Calif.) and Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) each asked permission to call up a Democratic bill aimed at avoiding the sequester, but the presiding officer said these requests could not be fulfilled.
The morning speeches were followed by several additional speeches at noon, during which both parties continued to blame each other for allowing the sequester to take effect.
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) echoed the thoughts of many by saying Friday's meeting on the sequester between the White House and Congress probably should have happened months earlier.
"That really should have been happening months ago, in fact that was the intent of sequestration," Courtney said.