Harry Reid cancels Senate July 4 recess after Obama chides Congress

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. gestures while speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 10, 2011, following the Democrats' weekly policy luncheon. Reid dislocated his shoulder and suffered a black eye after slipping while exercising in the rain a week ago. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Sen. Harry Reid addresses reporters on Capitol Hill
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET

One day after President Obama chided Congress for its lackadaisical work schedule, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate is canceling its July 4 recess.

"The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday the day after the fourth," Reid said on the Senate floor today, CBS Capitol Hill Producer John Nolen reports. "We'll do that because we have work to do."

At a press conference Wednesday, Mr. Obama called for members of Congress to "cancel things and stay here" in Washington if there isn't "substantial progress" by the end of the week on a deal to raise the debt limit.

He complained that members are "in [session] one week, they're out one week."

"You need to be here," Mr. Obama said, directing his comments at members. "I've been here."

Watch President Obama scold Congress, at left

The Senate was scheduled to be out of session next week and recesses for one month starting August 6. The House of Representatives has been off eight weeks this year so far (including this week), and is scheduled to leave again the week of July 18.

The White House has been negotiating with a group of bipartisan lawmakers to try to hash out a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

The U.S. government hit the debt limit on May 16, but the Treasury Department implemented what it called "extraordinary" measures to keep the government from defaulting on its loans.

The Obama administration and several economists have warned, however, that Congress must raise the debt limit by Aug. 2 to avoid economic catastrophe. On CBS' "The Early Show" Thursday, White House senior advisor David Plouffe reiterated that point.

"If we do not pay our bills and go into default, you know, the circumstances could be catastrophic," Plouffe said noting that interest rates would rise and Social Security payments could be delayed.

House Speaker John Bohener on Tuesday called the August 2 deadline "artificial."

Several senators this week expressed their opposition to Reid's suggestion to keep the Senate in session next week, Politico reported.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, for instance, said she had significant constituent meetings to attend. Furthermore, she said staying in session wasn't necessary, given the debt limit negotiations involve only a handful of congressmen.

"Tell me what it is we're going to be doing - what is it we're going to be doing?" she said. " If there's real work going on, I'm here to do the work. If they're here to send a message, they can send plenty of messages without me."

  • CBS News Staff

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