With only two weeks left to avoid the automatic across the board spending cuts to defense and domestic programs known as the "sequester," the House and Senate voted Friday to adjourn for a weeklong recess.
When they return, they will have only four legislative days to negotiate a deficit reduction plan with the president before the $85 billion in cuts kick in March 1, The Hill reports.
House Democrats had argued earlier in the week that lawmakers should stay and work out a plan. "There is too much at stake for the House to go into recess," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., "Congress must do what's right for the American people, not what's wrong for the economy. We must stay in session until our work is complete."
A deal seems far out of reach. Boehner said he won't act until the Senate sends him a bill. Senate Democrats have proposed a measure that shifts and reduces the spending cuts and includes new tax increases. But Republican leaders have said they support a cuts-only plan, The Hill reports.
Via The Hill