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Pelosi Asks to Drop Recess for Sequester Talks

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California has urged Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio to cancel the planned district work period next week so both sides can work out a deal to avert the $85 billion automatic spending cuts under sequester.

“Democrats are eager to work with Republicans to find solutions, not sequesters,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Boehner on Monday.

As both parties blamed one another for the impasse on the impending cuts under the 2011 debt limit law (PL 112-25), Pelosi sent a letter to Boehner to keep lawmakers in Washington so that negotiations could continue to avert automatic spending cuts.

Requests to postpone district work periods are a tactic often deployed by the minority party in a chamber or by a rival party that controls the other chamber, and such requests are routinely turned down. Still, Pelosi’s letter came as Republicans and Democrats both accused each other of inaction in the face of the looming sequester.

“Look, they knew this was coming more than a year ago, and yet they still haven’t put forward a serious proposal of replacement spending cuts,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said on the Senate floor on Monday. “What a colossal waste of time.”

With only a handful of legislative days before the sequester hits federal agency budgets starting March 1, Pelosi said the parties should start work on a compromise plan immediately.

“The House should not recess and members of Congress should not go home until we finish our work, reach an agreement and avert the crisis,” Pelosi said.

The top Democrat in the House said the scheduled cuts had “already injected uncertainty into the economy and sapped the confidence of consumers and the markets.”

Senate Democrats have been working on their own sequester replacement legislation aimed at averting the spending cuts. Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has signaled that he plans to unveil the plan this week, but he has not made clear when it would be on the Senate floor.

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