Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) held a press conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill to announce an effort to get the Senate to craft, debate, and pass a spending bill and confirm President Donald Trump’s 271 outstanding nominations before the scheduled August recess — or stay in Washington until the work gets done.
Perdue said a letter has been sent to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to express support for the Senate to “do whatever is necessary” to clear the legislative calendar, including working on the weekends and through the summer.
Standing behind a podium decorated with the campaign’s #MakeCongressWork hashtag, Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, said Americans want the majority-Republican Senate to support President Donald Trump’s agenda — the agenda that got him elected.
“We are here today to demand that Congress work,” Martin said. “Coming to work late on Monday afternoon and leaving work early on Thursday afternoon is ridiculous.”
“We’re here today to demand that Congress do its work and get its work done on time on nominations and on spending,” Martin said. “If they haven’t passed all spending bills by the end of July they should cancel the August recess.”
“And if Congress hasn’t confirmed President Trump’s nominees by the end of July they should cancel the August recess,” Martin said.
Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs, gave reporters at the press conference what he said is a tally kept by the executive branch on Trump’s nominations.
The tally shows 271 outstanding nominations — 169 pending in committee and 102 pending on the Senate’s calendar.
It also shows proof, Short said, of how Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is “weaponizing” the cloture procedure. Cloture has been used by the Democrats to block 89 Trump nominations. This contrasts with the total combined 32 cloture procedures for four previous administrations — Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Short said it was time for Congress to “complete the work of the American people,” including funding the government.
“The last time the Congress got the appropriations process done on time was 22 years ago in 1996,” Short said.
Former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) said at the press conference that a delay in appropriating the traditional 12 bills needed to fund the government would put the president is a precarious position, which he said is unacceptable.
“I’ve never seen Americans, particularly conservatives across the country, more frustrated than they are now,” said DeMint, who is now with the Conservative Principles Institute.
“We all know that if Congress goes home in August without passing the funding bills, the same thing is going to happen that just happened,” DeMint said, referring to the last bloated Omnibus bill Congress passed and Trump signed, at the same time vowing never to do it again.
“He’s going to be given a choice in late September to either sign another bill or to close the government down right before the election,” DeMint said. “Those are unacceptable options.”
The group of conservatives said they have also launched a petition to drive home to Republican leadership in the Senate that Americans want Congress to get to work. Also, if the Senate ignores the campaign, a nationwide protest at lawmakers’ district office could follow.
The “clear and abusive obstructionism” has to stop, Perdue said.
“If Congress does not see the light we will make them feel the heat,” Martin said.
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