West: Congress should be at ‘Defcon 1’

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said Wednesday night that he believes Congress should return to Washington to “get the mission accomplished.”

“When I was an officer in the military, we had what was called Defcon 1 — defense condition one. That means all leaves and all passes were canceled and it was all hands on deck,” West told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News’s “On the Record.”

“I think that we’re at that point in time right now.”

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West said if Congress were the military, it would “perform to the mission, and not to a certain time.”

West called on lawmakers to resume work on the 2012 appropriations bills, warning that failure to take up these bills raises the risk of a continuing resolution or omnibus spending bill.

He commended the House for already approving seven of the 12 annual spending bills. But he said the Senate has taken up none of these bills near the end of the current fiscal year.

"[A]nd by the time we would have come back, it would be 7 September, which pushes us up to a new fiscal year, and what you're going to end up hearing once again is continuing resolution and omnibus," he said. The current fiscal year ends September 30.

He also predicted more freshman members would start pressing to bring Congress back from recess.  Allen said he emailed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the need to return to work, bus has received a reply.

"But I can tell you, I saw an email from some of my other freshman colleagues, and you're starting to see a lot of people in their districts talking about, 'You need to get back up to Washington, D.C. You need to press on,'" he said.

West added his voice to that of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who advocated for bringing Congress back to Washington despite the fact that she has packed her recess schedule with presidential campaign events.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) have been more cautious responding to the idea. Rubio defended the recess in a video released by his office earlier this week.

“As important as our work is here in Washington, it’s also important that we don’t lose contact with people back home,” Rubio said.

Speaking Wednesday night on the Fox Business network, Jordan said Congress should only return to session “if we are going to do the right things,” such as reforming the tax code rather than raising taxes.

Pete Kasperowicz contributed to this report.


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