Senate recess shortened, Reid says there’s work to do

September 30, 2009

Things are really getting serious in the U.S. Congress. Telltale sign: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday shortened the Columbus Day recess.

With plenty of work to do, particularly on healthcare, and polls showing only one in four Americans approve of Congress, Reid cut the Senate recess to two days from the previously scheduled five. FINANCIAL/

“With all the things going on here, it just would not be right for us to take that week off,” Reid announced on the Senate floor. “I apologize to everyone.”

Reid said he expected the full Senate to be able to begin debate on healthcare during that week — the Senate will now be off on Columbus Day, Oct. 12, and the following Friday, but open for business Tuesday through Thursday.

Reid took the action after consultations with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and as a battle over stalled legislation to revamp the U.S. healthcare system heated up.

If the Senate had taken the full week off, Republicans, no doubt, would have sought to make headlines by accusing Democrats, who control the chamber, of shirking their duties.

And with much of the Senate up for re-election next year, including Reid, Democrats are in no mood to take such hits.

On the other side of the Capitol, perhaps the more political savvy Democratic-led House of Representatives had long planned to work Columbus Day week — taking off just Monday.

Depending on how things go, however, Democratic leaders could decide to give House members Friday off as well — as they often do.

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Senate side of Capitol)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Hopefully, this will be the last year that most of these folks have to worry about congressional holidays since most will certainly be voted out of office. It’s beyond me why people would elect someone like Reid who has done nothing but try to take Americans to the cleaners since he got into office.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

Frank – what cleaners are you addressing?? mummmbooojummmboooo All the naysayers need to do a little reading and thinking on their own without the aid of the talking heads.

Posted by Elly | Report as abusive