Facing an impasse on healthcare reform, no progress on tax reform and delayed appropriations bills, members of Congress need a miracle… or more time. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has proposed scheduling a vote on healthcare reform by July 4, but other senators say that’s highly unrealistic. They’re not even close to striking a deal.
All of those reasons are compelling lawmakers to consider canceling their traditional month-long August recess so that they can get agenda items completed instead.
For instance, a budget resolution must be adopted before tax reform can take place, and there are only 45 legislative days left until the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.
Acknowledging that the budget and spending bills must be in place to avoid a government shutdown in September, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said, “I think there’s a majority that probably supports being here. I don’t want to wait until the last week to be forced into a [continuing resolution]. That’s ridiculous.”
Perdue further warned that the country could fall into a recession “if we don’t we get some kind of tax package on the books this year.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) has been urging Senate Republican leaders to cancel the August recess. “I think absolutely we should truncate or cancel recess. We have a huge agenda. I think we can get a lot of it done, but what we don’t have is time,” he said, noting, “We can make more time.”
“Congress has no business taking a recess when the people’s business remains unfinished,” stated Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).
Perdue said that he knows of approximately 15 Republican colleagues who will not want to go along with canceling the August recess.
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Thursday that he’s hoping Congress will stay in session through part of August at least, noting that there is currently no solid strategy in place for raising the federal debt limit.
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have been pushing the lawmakers to keep the chamber working through Labor Day to “accomplish the priorities of the American people.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) doesn’t believe that canceling or cutting part of the August recess down will be productive. “I’m a firm believer that the amount of work you have expands to fit the amount of time you give to it,” he said said. “Deadlines sharpen a man’s mind.”
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