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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/07/2012

Holiday plans another casualty of fiscal cliff vote

Barack Obama body surfing in Hawaii in 2008. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Paul Pelosi and Michelle Obama were discussing their holiday plans at Monday’s White House party for members of Congress — and they agreed, they’re going to Hawaii, with or without their spouses.

Nancy and Paul Pelosi at a state dinner in 2009. (Bill O'Leary/TWP)
Turns out both families made plans to spend Christmas in Hawaii — but there’s that pesky “fiscal cliff” vote threatening to keep Congress and administration officials in Washington until the end of the year. Nancy Pelosi’s husband told Democratic spouses at a gathering Tuesday that he and the first lady are both prepared to start their vacations (separately, of course) as scheduled. Pelosi’s office declined to discuss her plans but said she would remain in Washington until a deal is struck.

Yep, it’s time for the game of chicken we like to call “How the Vote Stole Christmas.” Legislators vow to do whatever it takes, including missing Christmas and winter break, to hold out for a fair bill. Somehow, the vote always happens just in time for members to catch the last flight home for the holidays.

The President and his daughters in Hawaii on winter break last year. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Until then, no one admits to thinking about such trifling matters as vacations. Calls to the RNC, DNC and congressional leadership about holiday scheduling were not returned. Eric Cantor said no recess will begin until a “credible solution to the fiscal cliff has been found.” Steny Hoyer has been quietly telling congressional staffers not to book anything out of D.C. before Dec. 23rd. And even that might be too soon: Three years ago, the Senate pushed a vote on the president’s health care plan to Christmas Eve — the first vote on Dec. 24 since 1895.

The First Family waited until after that vote to start their vacation. Lesson learned: In 2010 and 2011, the president stayed in D.C. until Congress adjourned — but his wife, daughters and Bo started their annual vacation in Hawaii days earlier.

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By  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/07/2012

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