Congress may skip August recess

It looks like Congress is considering skipping their August recess to focus on work. The Hill reports several senators are pretty annoyed with the lack of progress on repealing Obamacare, passing tax reform, and getting other parts of the government funded.

I think there’s a majority that probably supports being here,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), referring to the possibility of cancelling or cutting short the August recess…

“I don’t want to wait until the last week to be forced into a [continuing resolution]. That’s ridiculous,” he said of the likelihood Congress will have to pass a short-term continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown…
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) has pushed Senate Republican leaders for the past two weeks 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,” said Sullivan. “We can make more time.”

The idea is gaining steam with colleagues elected to the Senate more recently.

“Congress has no business taking a recess when the people’s business remains unfinished,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

All three have a really good point, even if the proposed Obamacare replacement bill is beyond awful, because it is pretty annoying when Congress passes continuing resolution after continuing resolution. This should raise eyebrows about the size of the government, but given how both parties seem to be okay with it, it’s doubtful anyone will be willing to do anything about it. It certainly is easier to grow government instead of chopping it, which is probably why people get so frustrated about Congress’ unwillingness to enact government-cutting agendas.

The good news, if there is any, is the fact there appears to be movement on keeping Congress in session. Via The Hill:

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have been most vocal in calling for the cancelation of the August recess.

The group issued a statement on June 6 calling on Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to keep the chamber working through Labor Day to “accomplish the priorities of the American people.”…

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Ok.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said there is support for staying through the summer to ensure that appropriations bills are marked up.

“Non-appropriators seem to think these things can be done instantly, that we just dream up numbers, pull them out of a hat. And so it may well necessitate us being here some time in August,” Cole said.

“I think it’s really important that people understand that Congress is working. We are producing a lot of legislation,” he added.

The chances of staying into August would increase, he predicted, if the Senate passes a healthcare reform bill, which need to be reconciled with the House-passed American Health Care Act.

The question is, of course, whether or not this will happen. The Senate has barely moved on the health care reform bill, except to say they’re considering keeping some Obamacare taxes in place. It’s doubtful the Russia probe is even causing too much of an issue because it involves the Intelligence Committees, and not the Senate as a whole. It should also be pointed out the Senate is planning to gavel in session at 4 p.m. Eastern today to “begin a period of morning business,” which seems an odd time to do “morning business,” unless you’re on Tokyo time. Maybe the Senate has a “case of the Mondays,” or wants to start later to make sure senators got to enjoy their Father’s Day.

But this could also be why Congress has constantly delegated power to the executive through alphabet agencies. The legislative branch is supposed to the section of government which makes the rules. They’ve been able to skirt this responsibility by letting the EPA, DHS, etc. come up with regulations crafted by the president’s own men and women. It makes their job easier, you see, because they can easily take time off in August with nary a peep on whether they’re doing the business of the people. Until a budget deadline comes up, and Congress moves to pass another continuing resolution. This could all change if the House and Senate decide to skip their August recess, but the cynic in me doesn’t expect this to happen.