Jobs bill postponed, Senate votes unlikely rest of this week

The Senate will be closed on Wednesday and no more votes are expected this week because of a second major storm that is expected to blanket Washington.
 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that votes in the Senate this week are unlikely because senators are having trouble catching flights to the Capital.

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“I would doubt there will be any votes this week,” Reid said on the Senate floor Tuesday night. “It appears, what I’ve been able to hear, that people now can’t get planes to get here, and they’re having trouble getting planes out of here.”

Fifteen senators missed votes on Tuesday and Democrats would likely not have enough support to pass a jobs bill by Friday, as Reid had hoped.

Reid said Democrats would hold a special meeting on jobs legislation Thursday at 12:30 pm and urged all members of his conference to attend.

The House canceled its voting schedule for the week and federal government offices will be closed for the third day in a row as forecasts predict another 10 to 20 inches could be dumped on the Capitol Tuesday evening and into Wednesday.

Reid said he is making progress negotiating the jobs legislation with GOP leaders.

“We’re going to continue to work with everyone on an agreement to move forward with this matter,” he said.

If the Senate does not vote again this week, jobs legislation would have to wait until the week of Feb. 22 because Congress is scheduled to take a week-long recess next week for President’s Day.

The Senate voted to confirm Joseph Greenaway of New Jersey to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals before adjourning.

Republicans blocked an effort to confirm Craig Becker, President Barack Obama’s nominee to the National Labor Relations Board.

Reid blasted Republicans for obstruction and urged Obama to place his nominees through recess appointments.

“I have told the president, enough is enough,” Reid said. “He has the right, as president of the United States, to do recess appointments. It should be done. What is being done to this president is unfair.

“It’s never been done before,” Reid added. “We’ve had to file cloture on many presidential nominations that President Bush never had to.”

Obama signaled Tuesday he could appoint nominees while Congress is on break next week.

At a rare appearance during Tuesday's press briefing, Obama criticized the upper chamber for hanging up a number of those appointees so far -- a moot manuever, he added, seeing as the chamber often grants "overwhelming support" to those candidates when their final confirmation votes arrive.

"If the Senate does not act to confirm these nominees, I will consider making several recess appointments over the upcoming recess, because we cant allow politics to stand in the way of a well-functioning government," Obama said.

-- Tony Romm contributed to this article.

-- This article was updated at 7:51 p.m.

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