House leaves for six-week August recess

House leaves for six-week August recess
© Greg Nash

House members left Washington on Thursday evening for their six-week summer recess, a day earlier than originally scheduled, after capping off an intense work period.

Before leaving, lawmakers voted to pass a budget deal — which includes a two-year extension of the debt limit — and to grant temporary protected status for Venezuelan migrants, making them the last votes for the summer.

The House isn't scheduled to be back in session until Sept. 9.

ADVERTISEMENT

Thursday marked the last day of a July work period filled with divided Democrats attempting to bridge their internal differences, emotional floor debate over condemning President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE's tweets targeting four progressive freshman congresswomen and one lawmaker forcing a vote on impeachment.

House members also started their recess a day after former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees about his investigation into Russian election interference and whether the Trump administration had obstructed justice.

So far, just a handful of Democrats have announced support for an impeachment inquiry following Mueller's testimony, including Reps. Lori TrahanLori A. TrahanEthics panel finds Massachusetts Democrat didn't violate rules Democrats on House Armed Services panel 'dismayed and gravely concerned' with Esper The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Pfizer's Mikael Dolsten says vaccine development timeline being cut in half; House poised to pass 4 billion relief package MORE (Mass.), Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioHouse Dems introduce bill to require masks on planes and in airports Should the United States withdraw from the WTO? OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House approves .5T green infrastructure plan | Rubio looks to defense bill to block offshore drilling, but some fear it creates a loophole | DC-area lawmakers push for analysis before federal agencies can be relocated MORE (Ore.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.) and Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkRevered civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis lies in state in the Capitol Leaders call for civility after GOP lawmaker's verbal attack on Ocasio-Cortez How to save child care? The rural electrification of America provides an answer MORE (Mass.).

Democrats who've long pushed for impeachment are hoping that they can keep up their push to draw the public's attention to what's in the Mueller report while they're back in their districts.

"Our constituents are all going to ask about this. And it will be a wonderful opportunity to continue to educate people about what's in the Mueller report," said Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalMatt Stoller: Big tech House grilling the most important hearing on corporate power since the 1930s Hillicon Valley: House panel grills tech CEOs during much anticipated antitrust hearing | TikTok to make code public as it pushes back against 'misinformation' | House Intel panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence Five takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs MORE (D-Wash.), a Judiciary Committee member and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

House Democratic leaders left some legislative items unfinished before leaving for the break.

Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a resolution from Rep. Alan LowenthalAlan Stuart LowenthalAct now to protect our nation's birds Overnight Energy: EPA declines to regulate chemical tied to developmental damage | Democrats unveil .5T infrastructure plan | Land management bureau eases requirements for oil, gas royalty cut requests Land management bureau lessens requirements for oil and gas royalty cut requests MORE (D-Calif.) to affirm support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There had been discussions among Democrats about considering it on the floor this week along with another resolution expressing opposition to the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The House easily passed the resolution opposing BDS on Tuesday by a vote of 398-17. But 16 mostly progressive Democrats voted against it, arguing it went against free speech, while another four voted "present."

But Democratic leaders ultimately opted against bringing up Lowenthal's resolution because it says that "only" a two-state solution can resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

"I'm trying to get language that I think will be acceptable to the broadest number of people and Republicans as well," House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerGOP expects Senate to be in session next week without coronavirus deal This week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Fauci gives his COVID-19 vaccine estimate MORE (D-Md.) told reporters on Wednesday.

Lowenthal called the decision not to vote on his resolution this week "really disappointing." He said he suspected the upcoming Israeli elections in September played a role in delaying consideration of his resolution.

"Everybody's into a two-state solution. That's not the issue. I think the issue is the United States playing a leadership role and trying to bring people together by being fair to both sides," Lowenthal said.

"I thought that this was something that would bring us together. We had people who had signed from all parts of the caucus. All parts," Lowenthal said.

Members of the Blue Dog Coalition, meanwhile, had threatened to sign on to a GOP discharge petition to force a vote on Senate legislation to allow state and local governments to refuse to do business with companies that boycott Israel if the BDS resolution wasn't considered before the August recess.

The House also adjourned without taking action on legislation from Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's latest plan on racial inequality Democrats hope clash resonates with key bloc: Women House votes to curtail Insurrection Act powers MORE (D-Texas) to overhaul migrant detention policies, which still needed buy-in from the whole caucus.

But the House did pass legislation on Wednesday from Rep. Raul RuizRaul RuizHouse Democrat who's a physician calls on Trump to 'man up' and wear mask In Trump response to coronavirus, left sees environmental injustice House coronavirus bill aims to prevent utility shutoffs MORE (D-Calif.) to establish standards of care for migrants under Customs and Border Protection custody.

House passage of the budget deal brokered primarily by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNegotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Schiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinNegotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts Schiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package Lawmakers aim for COVID-19 relief deal this week MORE now sends the legislation to the Senate, which is expected to consider it next week.

When lawmakers return in September, they'll have only a few weeks to pass legislation to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

While the budget deal establishes top-line spending numbers, lawmakers still need to pass appropriations bills to actually fund government agencies.