By Alexander Bolton - 09/15/09 03:00 PM EDT
Congress has only been back in session for a week, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is already warning he may cancel the next break because of a lack of GOP cooperation.
Reid (D-Nev.) has warned Republicans that they need to pick up the legislative pace or he will cancel the weeklong Columbus Day recess next month.
Reid told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that the Senate will stay in session straight through October if Republicans slow the floor debate on appropriations bills and other issues.
“We have a lot to do,” Reid told colleagues on the Senate floor Tuesday morning. “I went over that in some detail with the Republican leader. We have now scheduled a work period at home on the Columbus Day weekend — the Columbus Day week.
“We have many times in the past taken that because there’s so much work to do at home, but we can’t do that unless we complete our work here. I’ve explained that to the Republican leader.”
Reid has repeatedly voiced frustration over Republican efforts to slow floor proceedings. He asked Republicans to cooperate in passing spending bills funding the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
“This will be only our fifth appropriations bill we will have done,” Reid said. “We have many more to do. I have trouble comprehending people not letting us finish these bills and then complaining that we have to do a continuing resolution to fund government.”
Democratic leaders have hoped to avoid combining unfinished appropriations bills into a massive omnibus package. It appears certain, however, that lawmakers will not be able to pass all the bills needed to fund the federal government by Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends.