Congress takes a break

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBCNC) — President Obama makes another pitch for his middle class agenda in Chicago today 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 Thursday.

Republicans blocked a vote on Hagel.

Democrats could still try to get him confirmed with a simple majority, or President Obama could simply appoint him while Congress is in recess.

The nomination of John Brennan as C.I.A. Director is also still in limbo.

So are $85 billion in automatic budget cuts set for March 1st.

They'd affect three quarters of a million jobs according to the Congressional Budget Office.

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

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

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