A lot in limbo if Congress heads home for recess

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February 15, 2013, 6:18 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Tracie Potts) – In Washington, Congress is going home Friday with a lot of work un-done. Two key national security jobs are in limbo and billions in automatic spending cuts are scheduled to happen right after they return.

Both sides say they don't want to see those cuts, but, so far, no one here's come up with a way to prevent them that the other side can live with.

In Chicago Friday, President Barack Obama will make another pitch for his middle class agenda after chiding Congress for not confirming Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense:

"It's just unfortunate that this kind of politics intrudes at a time when I'm still presiding over a war in Afghanistan," the President said.

Republicans blocked a vote on Hagel. Friday, we could see democrats try to get him confirmed with a simple majority or Obama could simply appoint him while Congress is in recess.

It’s the same for John Brennan whose nomination as CIA director is also still in limbo.

Also in limbo are $85 billion in automatic budget cuts set for March 1st. They'd affect three quarters of a million jobs, the congressional budget office says.

"I don't like it and no one should like it, but the sequester is there because the President insisted that it be there,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “Where's the President's plan to replace the sequester that he insisted on?"

“This -- it's just -- it's just wrong," said minority leader Nancy Pelosi. "Why are we leaving when we should be staying here to work this out?"

If Congress leaves Friday as scheduled, they'll come back with just four days to prevent those cuts from happening.

That leaves Congress with less than a week to do what they've been unable to do for months.

Tags: congress, budget, Democrats, President Barack Obama, Republicans, John Brennan, recess, spending cuts, NBC News, Tracie Potts, Chuck Hagel, sequester
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