Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2014

Currently: 66° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

The Policy Racket

Harry Reid: Senate going to work until there’s a debt-limit deal

Click to enlarge photo

Harry Reid

WASHINGTON — Back when I was in graduate school, I had a professor who said most U.N. treaties are concluded between the hours of 2 and 6 in the morning, simply because the diplomats get so sick and tired of working that they buckle down and finish the fine print.

Sen. Harry Reid is hoping to inflict that sort of pressurized logic on the Senate, which, he just announced, he’ll be keeping in session every day -- weekends too -- until Congress strikes a deal on the debt limit.

Lawmakers have been locking horns over how to strategically raise the national debt ceiling in a way that lets the country avoid default and also start to pay down what it owes.

Congressional leaders met with the President on a near-daily basis last week to try to hash out some sort of a deal. But while the process got leaders to put various options on the table, they’ve been digging in more than they’ve been dealing.

With the deadline of August 2 fast approaching -- that being the day Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the country won’t be able to meet its obligations anymore — everyone is losing their patience.

“The Senate has no more important task than making sure the United States does not fail to pay our bills for pre-existing obligations like Social Security for the first time in our history,” Reid said. “To ensure that we meet this responsibility, the Senate will stay in session every day, including Saturdays and Sundays, from now until Congress passes legislation that prevents the United States from defaulting on our obligations.”

This is the second time Reid has denied lawmakers their usual recesses. The first time was right before the Fourth of July, when the President admonished lawmakers for taking too many vacation weeks and not spending enough time in Washington getting the business of government done.

Reid held lawmakers in session for their traditional Fourth of July week-long holiday, giving them a four-day weekend over the fourth, but calling them back the following Tuesday to buckle down and get some real work done. It didn’t really have the intended effect.

That week, the Senate took two votes: a “Motion to Instruct the Sergeant at Arms to Request Absent Senators” -- a.k.a. taking attendance -- a procedural motion to proceed to consideration of a bill that would express the sense of the Senate that millionaires and billionaires ought to do their part to resolve the budget deficit. (If a “Sense of the Senate” resolution sounds a bit fluffier than other law, that’s because it is; in any case, while Senate did eventually proceed to talking about it, they didn’t agree to it.)

Reid defended the choice, saying the time spent in session was valuable to for getting things done behind the scenes, and reminding lawmakers that not everything happens on the Senate floor.

There are fifteen days until August 2.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 4 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. "The problem is not in the Senate. The House is not just going to rubber stamp what the Senate passes. They are going to feed it to the shredder"

    Then I guess the country is on it's way to going to sh*t for sure August 2. Hope you have all your ducks in a row 'cause it's gonna hurt EVERYONE!

  2. 2 words.........TERM LIMITS!

  3. The Senate working is news

  4. Well, poor Harry Reid and his cohorts! They only work 160+ days a year and they are now making a sacrifice? The bottom line is our elected officials are ignorant of the Constitution, but this doesn't stop them them proposing Amendments to a document they don't even try to understand. This may well go for the American public also. Our Constitution ordained a limited Federal govt with Enumerated Powers only, few and defined! Our Constitution does not permit Congress to create & fund Depts of Ag.,Education,Energy,Health & Human Services, Hud, Labor, Transportation etc nor appropriate funds for the Boards, Commissions & Committies, pork, massive welfare & entitlement programs such as Medicare,Medicaid,Soc.Sec or bailout funds for businesses 'too big to fail,' or govt corporations such as Amtrak, SBA, RR retirement Board etc. We must return to personal respnsibility. 47% of We the People are of such a mindset that to live at other people's expense is deemed to be a right. Our Congressmen should know: you cannot battle debt with more debt, so if they want to balance the budget immediately all they have to do is vote NO on raising the debt ceiling & start eliminating all the welfare departments or other govt interference agencies.