At his press conference yesterday, President Obama practically taunted Congress about tackling its responsibilities. “They’re in one week, they’re out one week,” Obama said, adding, “You need to be here. I’ve been here.”
This morning, Senate Democrats announced they agree with the sentiment.
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said Thursday that the Senate recess scheduled for the Fourth of July week would be scrapped, as the deadline to raise the nation’s debt limit looms.
“It is often said that with liberty comes responsibility,” Mr. Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said on the Senate floor. “We should take responsibility seriously. I’m confident we do. That’s why the Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, the day after the Fourth. We’ll do that because we have work to do.”
This move should actually enjoy some bipartisan support. After the president’s remarks yesterday, nine Republican senators urged the chamber’s leaders to scrap the recess. They’re getting their wish.
And what of the House? The lower chamber is already out this week, but is already scheduled to return to work on Wednesday, July 6. It means next week, other than Monday’s holiday, will be a work week in Washington.
I not only think this is a good idea, I’m not sure policymakers have much of a choice. As of a couple of weeks ago, the goal was to wrap up debt-reduction talks by this weekend. By all indications, the relevant players aren’t even close to a deal — on the contrary, they appear to be moving further apart.
With the U.S. credit rating in jeopardy in just a couple of weeks, policymakers need to actually get some meaningful work done, and the way to do that is to stick around and scrap travel plans.
Under the circumstances, this was arguably a no-brainer.