Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday gave senators a three-day weekend, even though he was warning just days ago that senators may have to work Saturday and Sunday to finish up the work of the 113th Congress.
"[W]e may have to be here through the weekend," he warned Monday, citing the need to pass a big government spending bill, a tax cut bill and work on executive branch nominations.
By Thursday night, Reid said a deal between Republicans and Democrats on nominations would let everyone stand down until next Monday. He said that deal would put the Senate in the same place Monday "as if we were in tonight, tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday."
Reid frequently threatens weekend work, but those threats almost never get carried out, and in fact, Friday has almost always been a day off for the Senate under Reid's leadership. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he would change that, and have the Senate work on Fridays.
While Reid's weekend threats are usually just bluster, the chances of some weekend work do seem to rise in December, when Congress is scrambling to finish up work before the end of the year. Next week is no exception, as the Senate will have to pass a spending bill, a defense bill, and possibly legislation to extend expired tax provisions, in addition to holding nomination votes.
The House still has to pass a tax bill and a spending bill, but it passed the defense bill on Thursday. With all that work to do, Reid again warned about weekend work — next week — as he adjourned the Senate Thursday night.
"I alert everyone, next week could be a long, long week, spilling into the next week," he said Thursday night. "We have certain imperative things we have to do."
"Everyone knows we have to do a spending bill," he said. "Everyone knows we have to do a defense bill. Everyone knows that we're trying to do some tax extenders. We hope we will do that, but we will see."
"So everyone should be prepared that this isn't going to be as easy as this weekend is," Reid said.