House members take recess cue to leave the country

Midway through the last series of floor votes before members left town for recess on Friday, a pair of young staffers navigating a pulley cart carrying two steamer trunks branded “CODEL BoehnerJohn BoehnerTrump, GOP fumble chance to govern ObamaCare gets new lease on life Ryan picks party over country by pushing healthcare bill MORE” caught the attention of reporters and lawmakers taking care of business in the corridors outside the chamber.

The scene was a visual reminder that House members intend to spend time outside the country on fact-finding trips over recess, despite the debate over the president’s domestic agenda dominating Congress.

Citing security concerns, aides close to House Minority Leader John BoehnerJohn BoehnerTrump, GOP fumble chance to govern ObamaCare gets new lease on life Ryan picks party over country by pushing healthcare bill MORE (R-Ohio) would not disclose which countries the top-ranking Republican was visiting but noted that the congresssional delegation trip, or codel, is “dealing with issues surrounding the global economic crisis and national security.”

Several lawmakers and aides told The Hill of different international fact-finding missions planned for the month of August as well.

Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), chairman of the House Democracy Assistance Commission, is leading a codel to Peru. The commission’s ranking member, Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), will also attend.

Several Democratic lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee will head to countries in Africa, including Liberia, Ghana and Morocco, to discuss trade issues.

Boehner’s second-in-command, House GOP Whip Rep. Eric CantorEric CantorPaul replaces Cruz as GOP agitator GOP shifting on immigration Breitbart’s influence grows inside White House MORE (Va.), left town on Saturday with more than two dozen GOP lawmakers on a weeklong trip to Israel and the West Bank.

Cantor is the senior lawmaker on the delegation, which is sponsored by the nonprofit charitable organization American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will serve in the same capacity the following week when AIEF sponsors a 31-member House Democratic delegation to go to Israel.

Under the new House rules, congressional trips can be sponsored by non-lobbyist organizations such as AIEF as long as those organizations have met the requirements for permissible travel. Members are required to obtain prior approval from the House ethics committee.

According to Cantor aides, the delegation will consist of freshmen and other members who have yet to visit Israel for the first time since being elected to the House.

“The schedule is packed,” freshman Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) said of the week’s itinerary. Democrats are supposed to follow a similar program on their trip.

Participants on both trips have meetings set up with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Cantor and Hoyer have each led similar weeklong trips to Israel in past non-election years.