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House expected to start recess early

House expected to start recess early
© Greg Nash

After delaying a vote on a gun control bill this week, GOP leaders told rank-and-file members they plan to adjourn for the long summer recess beginning Thursday, a day earlier than expected. 

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats Barrett declines to say if Trump can pardon himself MORE (R-Wis.) and his team decided Monday night to hit the pause button and punt on a vote on a gun control and anti-terrorism package until after the seven-week break over fears it could incite more violence around the country.

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He asked his colleagues to go back to their districts and start a dialogue about ways to close the divide between law enforcement and the communities they’ve vowed to protect. That's left the House with a lighter schedule during its final week before the recess. 

“Right now, what we want to do is have a good conversation where we calm things down and talk about the solutions about how we can better improve our communities and the relationship between law enforcement and communities,” Ryan told reporters after a closed-door meeting with his GOP conference. 

Ryan’s remarks came on the same day President Obama, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a handful of other lawmakers were flying to Dallas for a memorial honoring five police officers who were gunned down by a sniper last week at a protest. The deadly ambush apparently was in retaliation for recent police shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

And on this day a month ago, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred. Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured another 53 during a shooting rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando. 

Republicans had hoped to hold a vote before recess on an anti-terror package that included a provision designed to make it tougher for suspected terrorists to buy firearms. But conservatives in the GOP conference revolted against the gun language, saying it violated constitutional protections. And the recent spate of gun violence made passage even more unlikely.

With no action on the anti-terror package, the House is “one bill lighter” this week, said a GOP leadership aide, who added that any early departure will depend on how quickly the chamber can pass an appropriations bill on the floor. 

House GOP leaders also said they had no plans to take further action on additional funding to combat the Zika virus. The lower chamber already passed a Zika funding bill, and Republicans blamed Senate Democrats for holding up a House-Senate conference report that provides $1.1 billion to fight the virus; but Democrats don’t like how it’s paid for, among other objections.

“We’re waiting on Senate Democrats to pass this bill on the Senate side. We sent a good bill over on Zika,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told reporters.

At his news conference Tuesday, Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, offered praise for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, whom presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus MORE is considering as his running mate. But Ryan wouldn’t give Trump any advice on who would make the best vice president. 

“I’m just as anxious as you are as to who the VP pick is. I’m familiar with this process,” said Ryan, who formerly served with Pence in the House. “I have highest regard for Mike. He’s a personal friend of ours and mine.”