Reid gives Senate Friday off, after saying Senate will work Fridays

Anne Wernikoff

The Senate will once again not be working on Friday, even though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said just days ago that the Senate would work a Monday-through-Friday schedule for the next few weeks.

"During this next work period, the only time we will have off will be November 11 for the celebration of Veterans Day," Reid said Monday. "Therefore, if we are going to finish our work in this four-week period, that means we are going to have to work on Mondays and Fridays. I hope we don't have to work weekends, but we have to get this work done."

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But by Thursday afternoon, Democratic leaders had announced there would be no more votes this week. And late Thursday afternoon, Reid closed the Senate by saying the next session would begin Monday afternoon.

Reid's initial warning of a longer work week was based on his desire to complete work on four bills in November, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), S. 815. That bill is aimed at prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identify.

Before adjourning today, Reid set up a vote to end debate on proceeding to that bill Monday evening.

Another bill coming up soon, S. 460, would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour after two years. A third bill is the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 1197.

The last bill is H.R. 3204, which would make it easier to track counterfeit drugs though out the country. The House passed that bill in September.

Reid has criticized the House for wasting time on "show votes," and for dodging issues like immigration reform. But on Monday, Reid also criticized senators for failing to show up for votes on Monday — he had to delay a Monday procedural vote until Tuesday, and warned that the Senate needs to use its time better.

"[I]n the future the next Mondays we can be expecting a vote or series of votes," he said. "I think we have become very complacent and not worrying about the Monday night votes."