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.