Reid Won’t Rule Out December Session

Posted November 18, 2008 at 2:33pm

Although he doesn’t welcome the option, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday did not completely close the door on calling Senators back into session next month to address the ailing automotive industry.

Beginning his remarks following the Senate Democrats’ weekly policy luncheon, Reid jokingly said the meeting may be the Conference’s last before the new Congress begins next year.

“We just finished our last caucus of this Congress … I hope,” Reid said with a smile.

Yet Reid left the door slightly ajar on the December session, saying if the Senate is unable to pass a $25 billion loan to the Detroit automakers this week, then “we’re going to have to decide how long we’re going to be here.” The auto loan package faces strong opposition from the White House and GOP lawmakers.

Earlier Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) suggested Congress could return in early December to deal with the issue if it fails to act in the coming days.

Reid has introduced two separate bills in the Senate: a broad stimulus bill that includes unemployment benefits, the auto loan and funds for infrastructure, food stamps and other programs, and a smaller, second bill that provides an extension of unemployment insurance benefits and aid to the auto industry.

While Reid tried to downplay the possibility of a December session, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), was more pointed, saying: “There’s no plan to do it, but I can’t rule it out. I can certainly envision it, if we fail this week.”