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Harry Reid threatens to keep the Senate working right up 'til the week before Christmas


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned Monday that the Senate may have to be in session the week before Christmas, which could happen if the House and Senate can't easily find an agreement to fund the government past December 11.

Reid said on the Senate floor that a government funding bill is his top priority over the next two weeks, and said it hopefully won't take three weeks to get that work done. "But we may have to be here the third week, and everyone should understand that," he said.

"We may have to be here the week before Christmas, and hopefully not into the Christmas holiday," he added. "But there are things we have to get done."

As of now, the House is scheduled to be done with work on December 11, and the Senate is expected to leave for the year roughly when the House is done with its work. Reid's comments indicate that senators may have to work the week of December 15.

Reid typically threatens work on the weekend or into holidays, and those threats almost never come true — especially since the Democratic-led Senate has not made passing legislation a priority in the last few years.

But the risk of an extra week of work seems elevated at this point, as Republicans and Democrats are expected to clash over how to keep the government open after December 11. Republicans are considering whether and how to attach language to the spending bill that would block President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.

House Republicans will meet Tuesday to discuss their options, and Democrats in the House and Senate are broadly expected to oppose that effort.

Aside from the spending bill, Congress is working on a bill to extend several tax provisions for another year, although that extension should not be nearly as difficult to approve. A defense authorization bill is also possible in the next few weeks.

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