House Republican leadership echoed the sentiment of Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) in urging lawmakers to finish GOP priorities such as health care and tax reform before breaking for the August recess.
Last week the Freedom Caucus urged House leadership to cancel lawmakers’ August recess to pass vital legislation such as health care and tax reform.
“The House Freedom Caucus has taken an official position in support of the House staying in session through the August recess to continue working to accomplish the priorities of the American people,” the Freedom Caucus statement read.
During a Heritage Foundation event last week, Meadows urged lawmakers to figure out tax reform before the end of summer.
“We need to get tax reform done sooner (rather) than later and by that we should have a real proposal that we start debating before we leave at the end of July,” the North Carolina congressman told attendees.
Since Freedom Caucus released their statement, multiple members of House Republican leadership called for the end of the August recess.
National Security Subcommittee Chairman Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) called for Republicans to cancel the late summer break.
“There’s nothing written in stone that you’ve got to take five weeks in August and early September. So, my view would be we’ve got to make the most of our opportunities now,” Rep. DeSantis said.
On Monday, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the House Republican Conference chair, signaled that she would support working through the summer.
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers said, “We are about getting results, and we are focused. The House and the Senate and the White House are focused on results, and I’m willing to stay here if that’s what it means.”
On Sunday, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) told Fox News Channel host Maria Bartiromo that he believes that an August recess “forces people to come to the table,” but he added that he could support a longer legislative calendar in the summer to pass health care and tax reform.
Scalise explained, “We are just going to stay in and get it done, Maria. That is a thing. You know, we’re going to get the job done. We have to for the American people. And this economy is waiting. There is so much demand that is pent-up. Let’s get it done.”
Congress only has seven weeks before the customary break for the August recess. Once the legislative branch returns from the break in September, raising the debt ceiling and funding the government before the September 30th shutdown date will divide Congress’s attention. After that, lawmakers will have three short months to pass tax and health care reform before the start of a contentious mid-term election year.
Chairman Meadows argues that continuing to work through August will give Congress enough time to address key legislative issues. Meadows served as a key negotiator between the White House, moderate Republicans, and conservatives; his negotiations galvanized enough votes in the House to pass a health-care bill through the chamber.
“We need to work through August recess to get everything done,” said Meadows. “We believe that we need to stay through August to get through tax reform… and get our appropriations done.”