House suspends votes this week, Senate may leave Wednesday

The House suspended votes for the rest of the week because of the impending snowstorm while the Senate may cancel votes on Wednesday.
 
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that after consulting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) it became clear that Tuesday's approaching snowstorm was preventing too many members from returning to Washington.

Hoyer said that the airlines - which have already cancelled hundreds of flights as the second major storm in less than a week makes its way across the midwest toward Washington DC - more or less made the decision for House leaders.

Forecasts predict another 10 to 20 inches could be dumped on the Capitol Tuesday evening and continue into Wednesday.
 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate may be out of session Wednesday because of weather issues.
 
The Senate moved up its Tuesday votes. The upper chamber was scheduled to start votes at 5 p.m. but aides said votes would begin as early as 3:45 p.m.
 
The chamber is scheduled to vote on the controversial nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board, and Reid said the vote may be held open for a prolonged period of time. The Senate is also scheduled to vote on Joseph Greenway's nomination for U.S. Circuit judge.
 
"The issue before the Senate today is what we do with Mother Nature," Reid said on the Senate floor Tuesday. "Mother Nature has been very difficult to deal with... We are contemplating, if we can work out the procedural difficulties, not being in session tomorrow."
 
Reid said he hopes to secure an agreement on a vote on a job-growth package this week, most likely on Thursday. He said decisions would be made on the chamber's schedule "in the next few hours."
 
The Senate is scheduled to be in recess next week to observe President's Day.
 
The House also will keep to its scheduled recess next week, meaning the next House vote will be the following week.
 
Hoyer - one of a handful of members in the Capitol - told reporters Tuesday morning that he planned to move scheduled votes up a day to Monday, Feb. 22. He added that it was possible that the House would meet on Friday, Feb. 19.
 
Despite having just returned from a bipartisan White House meeting to discuss the economy, jobs and healthcare, the first three questions that Hoyer fielded were about the back-to-back storms, and about road conditions and snow removal.
 
Asked if there would be a need for federal aid for the District, Hoyer said; "There may be. After all, this is the federal city.
 
The House will stay in session and vote on Friday, Feb. 26, to make up for lost time. This will give lawmakers sufficient time to tackle "a jobs bill and other critical measures," Hoyer said in a statement.
 
Many DC attractions, including the Smithsonian and the Capitol Visitor Center, are closed. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced Reagan National and Dulles International airports will not be operating flights on Wednesday. DC’s metro service warned passengers it may shut down early Tuesday, depending on the weather.
 
Several lawmakers took to the social networking website Twitter to discuss their experiences with the DC weather.
 
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) tweeted: “Bad weather. Took 12hrs to fly bk DC. DCA shut down. Had fly BWI. Slept in office so b on Hill for CNBC intrvu 7am in 20min.”
 
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) tweeted early Tuesday: “Votes canceled today for the House..politicians not in Washington = your pocketbook is safe. You agree?”
 
Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.) tweeted: “Got out of DC last week, but came back yesterday ready to work. I’m from AZ so help me out - is it Snowpocolypse or Snowmageddon?”
 
And Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) used the snowstorm to make a political jab, tweeting: “It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries ‘uncle.’”
 
-- Jordan Fabian contributed to this article.

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