WASHINGTON -- Complaining that Congress is going on its election break at the earliest point in decades, Democrats in the House Friday challenged their colleagues across the aisle to stay in session and deal with numerous pieces of unfinished business.
"We are prepared to stay," said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), arguing that Republicans should remain in town to deal with the stalled Farm Bill, the looming fiscal cliff, the Violence Against Women Act and other pieces of legislation that remain unresolved.
Pelosi noted that it was only earlier this month that Congress returned from a long summer break.
"We will have been in session only eight days. That's just not right," she said in comments on the steps outside the Capitol on the House side.
She was joined by dozens of other members of her caucus, who lambasted Republicans as epically unproductive.
"People back home cannot understand the work ethic of this Congress. They don't understand why we're not staying here to get the job done," said Rep. John Larsen (D-Conn.).
"What we are seeing this week is a convulsing end to a dismal Congress," said Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
"Republicans ought to come back and finish their work, and not cut and run," he added. "We are fired up and ready to stay!"
Democrats closed by chanting "Work, work, work."
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) chuckled when reporters asked him about the stunt.
"Instead of them having a demonstration on the House steps, maybe they should have had it on the Senate steps," Boehner said, laying out the GOP line that it's the Democrats in the Senate who have failed to act on House legislation.
"You know, it was Steny Hoyer a couple of years ago who said the most important part of government is doing a budget. So now Democrats have not done a budget for three and a half years," Boehner said.
"The House is the only body to have passed a bill to stop all the coming tax hikes," he added. "The House is the only body that's passed a bill to stop the sequester. We have done our work, but where are Senate Democrats and the president? Where is their responsibility, where is their leadership? It just doesn't exist."
It's not the first time a minority party has called on the majority to stick around. Republicans in the Democratic-controlled Senate made a similar appeal Thursday.
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.
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