WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- President Obama will stay in Washington during the holidays as long as Congress keeps working, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.
Questioned about the closing window in which to pass major pieces of legislation, Gibbs said Obama would remain at the White House as long as either congressional chamber is in session.
"If the Congress is here, the president will be here," Gibbs said.
Obama previously said he would delay departure for a holiday vacation in Hawaii if need be.
Besides taking up legislation that would keep tax rates enacted during George W. Bush's administration, other major pieces of legislation concern immigration, Senate ratification of a new nuclear arm accord between the United States and Russia and the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military.
The immigration bill would offer a chance at legal residency to illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States before age 16 if they earn a high school diploma; it also would grant residency to those who attend college for two years or enter the military.
Gibbs said he thought Senate ratification of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty could be taken up before the new year. Several Republican senators said they had some reservations about the treaty and would prefer delaying its consideration until the new Congress convenes.
"Our belief is ... this treaty that has the votes to pass the Senate and will pass the Senate before Congress goes home," Gibbs said.