GOP lawmaker calls for canceling recess ahead of shutdown deadline
© Greg Nash

A freshman House Republican is calling on Congress to cancel its spring recess that starts at the end of next week ahead of the looming deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) said in a House floor speech on Wednesday that lawmakers should stay in Washington until they find a way to keep the government funded past April 28.

Both the House and Senate will have been in session for six consecutive weeks before leaving next Thursday for a two-week Easter recess.


That means both chambers will only spend a total of about eight days in session in April before government funding runs out at the end of the month.

“Despite the fact that Congress, by any metric we might devise, is not doing its basic job, in 10 days, the members of this body will adjourn on a two-week vacation. And in 10 legislative days, if we don’t make some hard choices, the government may shut down,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher dismissed the recess as a “vacation” that lawmakers should postpone until they at least ensure the government won’t shut down.  

“In what other job would you grant yourself a two-week vacation if you failed to do that fundamental job?" Gallagher said. "I know we need to go back home. I know people want to hear from their constituents. But more than anything else, our constituents sent us here to do our job.”

House and Senate GOP leaders have been tamping down expectations for conservative demands in the spending bill next month, signaling the measure will not cut federal funds for Planned Parenthood or provide a down payment for the U.S.-Mexico border wall promised by President Trump. 

The White House has not made a push for either measure to be included in the bill. White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated Wednesday that the president could go along with the measure even if it didn’t include funds to build the wall. 

Forcing a showdown with Democrats could risk a government shutdown given that their votes may be needed to pass a funding bill.