Dems to Boehner: Just Come Back to Washington
Democrats pressed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring the House back in session as time ticks away on 2012.
"The House Democratic leadership is calling on the Republican leadership to come back to work and stop stonewalling every effort to get the job done, including making sure that taxes are not raised on tens of millions of middle class families," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement today.
"House Democrats have been standing ready and willing to return to Washington to vote on critical issues including the middle class tax cuts, Sandy disaster relief, the Violence Against Women Act, the Farm Bill – all while we continue to work on a bipartisan solution to avoid the fiscal cliff. There are plenty of reasons for this Do-Nothing Congress to get back to work," she added.
The fiscal cliff is five days away, and lawmakers have not yet received the requisite 48-hour notice from Boehner to return to the Hill.
"Over the past several weeks, Majority Leader Cantor has said that the House would do the work necessary to finish the items we need to get done by the end of the year. I talked to Mr. Cantor today and urged him to have us come back," Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said at a press conference today. He said the Republican conference would be discussing whether to return on a call this afternoon.
"I hope they conclude, as we have concluded -- and I speak for Leader Pelosi, myself, and all the Democratic leadership -- that we must come back as soon as possible to work together to reach compromises, to assure that we address the important legislation that is still pending in this Congress, a Congress which I believe has been the least productive, most confrontational, and least compromising Congress in which I've served, and I've been here since 1981," Hoyer said.
The Senate was working on FISA reauthorization today. The House met in pro forma session.
"I've never seen a public as energized or as knowledgeable about an issue as they are the fiscal cliff. I don't mean that they know every paragraph, sentence, and ramification of the failure to stop going over the fiscal cliff, but they know it will not be positive," Hoyer said.
"I just observed on the floor that literally tens of millions of Americans went back to work yesterday from having taken off probably a four-day weekend, four-day holiday for Christmas. And they went back to work on Wednesday. And millions more went back to work today. But their representatives in the Congress of the United States, unlike the United States Senate, did not go back to work and have not gone back to work. And that, correctly, is concerning our people."
Sen. Scott Brown (D-Mass.) posted on Facebook a couple of hours ago that he was headed back to D.C.: "Just learned that the Pres. reached out to Senate GOP leadership with a proposal. It is the first such proposal to be put forth. Eager to see why it is. How it is serious."
Followed by: "Correction. Hope it is serious. ...I'm rushing to get on plane and thought I would keep you all informed. I will be sure to check my update for grammar next time for those who want it done perfectly. Yikes."
The White House, though, denied such a deal was in the works.
UPDATE: Eric Cantor tweeted that the House will return on Sunday, with first votes expected at 6:30 p.m.