Why Working Monday Through Friday Is a Tall Order in the Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Majority Leader Harry Reid started the week with modest plans for the Senate: work Monday through Friday. Sounds straightforward enough, but the schedule got derailed along the way. And the Senate checked out Friday.

Here's what happened. On Monday, Reid previewed the four-week session ahead of Thanksgiving, saying the Senate would tackle a number of nominations, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, and drug-compounding legislation.

Sounding a bit like a school teacher warning class that so many lessons need to be completed before the test, Reid said senators have to get used to working Mondays and Fridays.

"If we are going to finish our work in this 4-week period, that means we are going to have to work on Mondays and Fridays. I hope we don't have to work weekends, but we have to get this work done," Reid said.

To show how serious he was about the workload, Reid scheduled a vote for Monday.

But it was not to be. With five senators absent, Reid said, on Monday the vote to confirm Richard Griffin as general counsel to the National Labor Relations Board was pushed to Tuesday.

And work on Friday? No.

Reid's office said Republican interference explains not being in session on Friday. Instead of debating the non-discrimination bill Friday, Reid was forced to file cloture because of Republican opposition, spokesman Adam Jentleson said. Before the procedural vote can occur, Senate rules require an intervening day -- in this case, Friday -- unless both sides agree to waive it.

Senate Republicans rebutted that account, saying both sides agreed to hold the cloture vote Monday, according to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's spokesman, Michael Brumas.

The Senate is out until 2 p.m. Monday, with votes on judicial nominations expected at 5:30 p.m. If Reid's admonitions go heeded, the vote next week will go ahead.

"It is obvious Senators aren't making these Monday votes a priority," Reid said Monday. "We have a lot of people not showing up. … I think we have become very complacent and not worrying about the Monday night votes."

Still, the Senate had eight roll call votes this week, two of those to confirm administration nominees. Next week votes are expected on other nominations as well as on the non-discrimination act.

The Nevada Democrat also eagerly and regularly points out the House's working schedule, especially when it consists of fewer days in session than the Senate's.

"I have enough trouble with my schedule, but I just have to briefly comment on the House schedule," Reid said earlier this week. "They are going to work until noon on Wednesday and then they are taking off the next 10 days. From now until the first of the year, they have scheduled 18 working days. That is all I will say on that."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.