Blizzard Forces Gridlocked Congress into Complete Stop

BY Quinn Bowman  February 10, 2010 at 1:23 PM EST

Washington, D.C., has a chance to break its record for the most snow in a season as the second crippling snowstorm in a week descended on the capital Tuesday into Wednesday. The blowing winds have forced the U.S. Congress, already in political gridlock over appointments, jobs and health care reform, to a complete stop.

The New York Times reported that because of the snowstorm, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., gave up on holding any more votes this week on a version of a bill aimed at creating more American jobs. The House has already passed a jobs bill — something President Obama identified as a priority last month in his State of the Union address. Reid said he hoped to work with Democrats Thursday on the jobs bill language.

“You certainly aren’t probably going to be able to leave if you wanted to with the storms being such as they are,” Reid said.

The House of Representatives also canceled votes for the week — and will now be in recess until Feb. 22 because of the President’s Day holiday

The storm has also closed the federal government for a third full day in a row.

Before the blizzards struck, President Obama and the Democrats in control of the U.S. Congress were already struggling to find a way forward on jobs and health care. Now lacking a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Democrats are unable to act on key issues without some cooperation from Republicans.

On Tuesday, President Obama met with Congressional leaders to discuss bipartisan solution to unemployment.

“We should be able to come together and help business create more jobs,” he said.

Although Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said there might be a way forward for the jobs bill in the Senate, GOP House Minority Leader John Boehner suggested Congress was hurting job creation by trying to reform health care and energy policy, the Wall Street Journal reported.

On Tuesday, NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan spoke with Politico’s Josh Gerstein to gauge the future of bipartisan efforts in D.C., blizzards notwithstanding.