Senate breaks from work on Sandy relief package for screening of 'Lincoln'

The Senate recessed Wednesday in the middle of work on an emergency relief package for Hurricane Sandy victims in order to attend a special screening of “Lincoln.”

The Senate is expected to return to work later Wednesday night after the movie screening, which was arranged by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and held in the Congressional Auditorium in the Capitol Visitors Center. 

Before the event, Reid met with director Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis, the actor who portrays President Lincoln in the film. The two men made a special trip to Capitol Hill for the screening.

Reid called the occasion an "opportunity for bipartisanship."

The upper chamber began consideration this week of H.R. 1 as a vehicle to provide $60.4 billion to Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, but some conservatives have said the bill contains unnecessary, wasteful spending at a time when lawmakers are trying to reduce the deficit.

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Senators were offering amendments to the bill when the motion to recess was approved.

Reid has said he wants to finish work on the bill this week, before breaking for Christmas. He has threatened working through the weekend to get the relief package done.

Senators are also awaiting a deficit-reduction package from President Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” which takes place at the beginning of next year when the Bush-era tax rates expire and sequestration takes effect.

— Emily Goodin contributed.