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.

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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 TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill 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. TrahanMA lawmakers press HHS secretary on status of state's protective equipment Democratic candidates gear up for a dramatic Super Tuesday MLB, Congress play hardball in fight over minor leagues MORE (Mass.), Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioTrump's ambitious infrastructure vision faces Senate GOP roadblock  Overnight Energy: Democrats push green measures in next stimulus | Coalition petitions EPA for tougher pollution disclosure rules | Trump to meet oil executives Friday Democrats push for green infrastructure provisions in next coronavirus package MORE (Ore.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.) and Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkPelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid Democrat says House vote on trillion aid deal could fall to Friday MA lawmakers press HHS secretary on status of state's protective equipment 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 JayapalWashington state lawmakers press Boeing to accept aid Some Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Pelosi says House will review Senate coronavirus stimulus package 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 LowenthalHouse Democrats jam GOP with coronavirus bill Federal lawmakers finally have a real plan to fight plastic pollution — will they step up to the plate? Now is our chance to turn the tide on ocean plastic pollution 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 HoyerProcedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill? DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill Lysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House 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 EscobarTexas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Hispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging 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 RuizHispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging Lawmakers postpone foreign travel over coronavirus Hispanic Democrats demand flu vaccines for detained migrants 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 PelosiLawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Mattis defends Pentagon IG removed by Trump Overnight Health Care: Trump calls report on hospital shortages 'another fake dossier' | Trump weighs freezing funding to WHO | NY sees another 731 deaths | States battle for supplies | McConnell, Schumer headed for clash MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinPhase-four virus relief hits a wall On The Money: Senate aims to quickly approve more small-business aid | Dems seek conditions on new funds for small-business loans | Pelosi says next round of relief will top T House GOP leaders back effort to boost small-business loans 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.