Reid slams House for taking weekend off

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) criticized the House of Representatives for taking the weekend off, saying it painted a "very bad picture" for debt negotiations. 

"Let me get this off my chest," he said on the Senate floor Thursday morning. "I just heard there is an announcement in the House of Representatives that they are taking the weekend off."

ADVERTISEMENT
"I think this is a very bad picture to have the House out this weekend when we have to likely wait for them to send us something, because as I understand the negotiations taking place deal with revenues which constitutionally have to start in the House,” said Reid.

“I think it is just untoward,” continued Reid. “That’s the kindest word I can say. … What a bad picture.”

His remarks come as both sides have inched toward a short-term increase to the $14.3 trillion debt limit before the Aug. 2 deadline imposed by Treasury. The Senate is scheduled to be in session on Saturday to vote on a House-approved bill to cut and cap federal spending and send a balanced-budget amendment to the states for ratification. It is expected to fail. 

Laena Fallon, a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) confirmed Thursday morning that an announcement had gone out to members Wednesday night that the House would not work this weekend. 

And Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), quickly responded to an inquiry from The Hill, pointing out that the House had already sent "cut, cap and balance" legislation to the Senate that would allow the debt ceiling to be raised in exchange for deep spending cuts and a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. 

The legislation is now pending in the Senate but has virtually no chance of clearing the Democrat-controlled body.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue to try to get a broader deal. President Obama met separately with Democratic congressional leaders and House GOP leaders on Wednesday.

Cantor's spokeswoman pointed out that although the Senate will be in on Thursday and Friday, no votes are scheduled.

The next vote scheduled is for Saturday morning on the "cut, cap and  balance” bill.

Reid pointed out that the cumbersome rules of the Senate can cause even popular legislation to move at glacial speeds.

"I want everyone who can hear my voice to understand that time is of the essence," he said. "We are running out of time. Procedurally things cannot move very quickly through the Senate under the best of circumstances."

Obama met separately on Wednesday with Boehner and Cantor, and with Democratic leaders from the House and Senate.

Watch Reid below.