GOP lawmakers urge party leaders to cancel August recess
GOP lawmakers are urging party leadership to nix the August recess, as Republicans struggle to make progress on their agenda despite maintaining control of both chambers.
Ten Republican senators sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday warning that the current congressional schedule doesn’t give them enough time to work on legislation. They called for him to cancel, or at least curtail, the recess.
“We respectfully request that you consider truncating, if not completely foregoing, the scheduled August state work period, allowing us more time to complete our work,” the senators said in the letter spearheaded by Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).
The lawmakers outlined five areas where they want to see progress: ObamaCare repeal, passing a budget, funding the government, raising the debt ceiling and tax reform.
The letter comes after Senate Republicans delayed a vote on repealing ObamaCare until July.
The GOP agenda remains months behind schedule, despite Republicans having control of the White House and both chambers of Congress for the first time in a decade.
“We appreciate your leadership, both in advancing our agenda and by moving a package of bills this year to roll back regulations. … Further, we have been encouraged by your work to date to help us stay on track. However, there is much to be done,” they wrote.
Meanwhile, 12 members from the conservative House Freedom Caucus sent a similar letter on Friday to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), urging him to cancel the August recess.
“During the 2016 elections, President Trump and Republican candidates running for the House and Senate promised the American people that with unified Republican government we could achieve many of the policy priorities that have been mere wishes for the last several years,” they said in the letter spearheaded by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).
Perdue and the House Freedom Caucus have been leading an effort to try to get leadership to cancel or scale back the six-week recess, but that has yet to gain traction with leadership.
Congress left town on Thursday for the July Fourth recess. The Senate is expected to be in session for 15 days in July.
The senators added in their letter on Friday that they have a total of 33 potential working days left before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
In addition to needing to fund the government, lawmakers also face fall deadlines for reauthorizing and funding the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Flood Insurance Program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The House members warned that constituents will be “disappointed” if they leave Washington instead of working through legislation.
“We have achieved some notable accomplishments you have rightly called singles and doubles, but working during August could facilitate hitting some home runs,” the House members wrote.