(NEW YORK) — The Senate opened its first session Sunday in the days between Christmas and New Years since 1962 with an ominous prayer, as Congress and President Obama scramble to come up with a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
“Let us feel your presence today on Capitol Hill,” Senate Chaplain Barry Black prayed, opening up the day in the Senate. “As we gather with so much work undone, guide our lawmakers with your wisdom. Lord, show them the right thing to do and give them the courage to do it.”
With just a matter of hours before the nation goes over the so-called fiscal cliff without a deal, Black prayed for “shelter” in the “midst of the storm, regardless of how high the waters rise,” for the legislators.
“When they feel exhausted, remind them of the great sufficiency of your grace, look with favor on our nation and save us from self-inflicted wounds,” he said.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., appeared on the Senate floor moments later, giving no update on the fiscal cliff negotiations.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., noted on the Senate floor that it takes a “crisis of major proportion” to meet in the days between Christmas and New Years.
The so-called fiscal cliff is a package of across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that will be triggered Jan. 1 if lawmakers cannot come up with a deal to cut the deficit.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Phil Mattingly, Tom LoBianco and David Mark, CNN
Jeremy Diamond, CNN