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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 TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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. TrahanDemocrats introduce bill allowing college athletes to organize Democrats ask Facebook to abandon 'Instagram for kids' plans Democrats urge Facebook to reverse WhatsApp privacy update MORE (Mass.), Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioNewest Boeing 737 Max takes first test flight FAA official defends SpaceX despite unauthorized December launch High-speed rail getting last minute push in Congress MORE (Ore.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.) and Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkPelosi signals no further action against Omar Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias Pelosi, leaders seek to squelch Omar controversy with rare joint statement 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 JayapalOvernight Health Care: Biden touts 300 million vaccine doses in 150 days | Biden warns of 'potentially deadlier' delta variant | Public option fades with little outcry from progressives Overnight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post On The Money: Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle | White House rules out gas tax hike 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 LowenthalShakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year's 'Will on the Hill' Face mask PPE is everywhere now — including the ocean Native Americans urge Deb Haaland to help tackle pollution in communities of color 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 HoyerBiden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' House passes political spending, climate change corporate disclosures bill House to vote Wednesday on making Juneteenth a federal holiday 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 EscobarAbbott signs bill making concealed carry without permits legal in Texas Democrats weigh next steps on Jan. 6 probe Gun violence: Save the thoughts and prayers, it's time for Senate action 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 RuizHarris hears criticism from all sides amid difficult first trip House Democrat says she sleeps with gun nearby after clashing with El Salvador's president Hispanic Caucus endorses essential worker immigration bill 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 PelosiMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack GOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says 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.