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Senate Democrats Prepare to Work Until Christmas

Updated: 3:10 p.m.

Senate Democrats are preparing to stay in session right up to Christmas Day to try to finish their work.

Democratic staff directors warned staffers Monday not to make any plans to travel next week, according to one top Democratic source. Christmas Eve is Friday and Christmas Day is Saturday.

“The only way to get everything done is to stay longer — unless Republicans will allow time to be pulled back,” the Democratic source said.

Senators, who cast a vote on Christmas Eve last year to pass health care reform, are also preparing to be in session next week.

“My Christmas plans are to go to New Mexico whenever I can,” Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said Tuesday. 

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) originally planned to wrap up Senate business by Friday, but Members still have a handful of items on the agenda.

In addition to passing an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts before the end of the year, Congress also must approve a measure to keep the government funded. Members have also said they plan to vote on a stand-alone bill in both chambers repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” And Reid spokesman Jim Manley said Tuesday that the Senate could begin debate on the ratification Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty as early as Wednesday.

Reid also threatened to bring the Senate back after Christmas.

“There’s still Congress after Christmas. We’re not through,” Reid told reporters Tuesday, warning the session could even last beyond the new year. “Congress ends on Jan. 4.”

Reid also told Senators that they may need to work over the weekend to finish the $1.1 billion omnibus package, which was filed Tuesday.

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