THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on the floor Thursday morning that the Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, July 5th.
Republican senators, led by a band of upstart GOP freshmen, pushed Wednesday for the elimination of the upcoming, week-long Fourth of July recess, this as President Obama chided members, as well, for not staying in town to forge a compromise on deficit reduction. Numerous aides from both sides of the aisle have they would be surprised if the effort was not successful.
The GOP group went even further saying they will object to the chamber moving to any measure that does not relate to deficit and debt reduction.
"Our country is going bankrupt. We shouldn't be going out on a holiday," said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc, who led the charge to oppose the break. "We're here today saying we should get back in session, but not just to be in session. We need to come back in session in the United States Senate and start addressing the problem. And until we do that, my intention...will be to continue to object and continue to withhold my consent from doing business as usual in Washington."
One after the other, the freshmen told reporters how disappointed they were after their first six months in Washington, this as the president and GOP lawmakers are deadlocked on a deficit reduction plan ahead of an early August vote to increase the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.
Each blasted the chamber's Democratic leaders, as well as the president for what they see as a lack of leadership.
"Never in my wildest dreams, no matter how pessimistic I was about the direction of our country, did I ever imagine seeing virtually no work going whatsoever into addressing the pressing issues of our nation," blasted Marco Rubio of Florida. "I'm deeply disappointed."
"Since I've been here for six months, I'm disappointed. We have not had one minute of one hearing devoted to the debt ceiling," Kentucky's Ron Paul decried, saying "week after week" the Senate is debating measures "not of grave importance to us," adding, "We lack leadership. We have a president who is not leading. They are running from this debate."
"Mr. President, where's your plan?" asked Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.
But a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide took issue with the attacks, saying GOP "obstructionism" was to blame. "We have tried to pass small business jobs measures, patent reform, other measures that will bring in the jobs. Are they just clueless? Each time, they were more worried about trying to get ideological measures attached to the bills, and the whole thing fell apart. It's shameful and disingenuous to say we haven't been leading."
The revenue issue is a particularly difficult one for Republicans, as most have signed a pledge that necessitates an equal reduction in tax rates for every tax loophole that is closed or subsidy that is eliminated. Deficit reduction is not to be the aim of any tax expenditure elimination.
But fissures are showing in the GOP courtesy of a recent vote to repeal the subsidies for ethanol blending with the additional revenue going to reduce the tide of red ink. The effort was led by fiscal hawk Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
This week, however, Republicans who supported the measure, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have said that the elimination of subsidies should come further down the road in the context of overall tax code reform.
Democrats, however, made clear Wednesday that revenue had to be included in any deficit reduction package, else supporters of a debt ceiling hike could find themselves short on votes.
So, the game of chicken continues, and where how it turns out is anyone's guess.