Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was adamant on Thursday that the House would not stay in session past Dec. 13 to finish work on a range of unfinished issues.
Boehner made that remark even as he downplayed the chances that House and Senate negotiators would be able to reach agreements on a budget deal and the farm bill by next week. Congress is facing a Dec. 13 deadline to reach a budget deal, although several members have indicated a deal is more likely in mid-January, when federal funding needs to be extended.
Democrats have repeatedly called on the House not to leave for the Christmas break until a budget deal is reached. Some have said failing to act in December sets up the chance of another government shutdown in January.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has proposed legislation that would prevent the House from adjourning until Congress agrees to a budget deal. She criticized Boehner today for planning to leave next week regardless of whether that deal is reached.
"After leading the most unproductive session in the history of this House, it's pretty audacious to send members home for the holidays without fulfilling the basic duty of agreeing to a federal budget," she said.