Congress In Session Two Days from May 25 to June 4 Despite Looming Deadlines

Capitol Closed
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images/AFP

Most Americans get a three-day weekend to celebrate Memorial Day. For Congress, time off began on Thursday and, except for a couple of work days next week, the House and Senate are away from Capitol Hill. The absences are called “district work sessions,” but business is not getting done in Washington.

The Senate and House websites reveal both chambers adjourned on Thursday afternoon, held a “pro forma” on Friday (a parliamentary law that allows a short session in which no voting or business is taken up, yet lawmakers are protected for violating the no-more-than-three-days-off rule) ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

Both chambers are holding another pro forma session following Memorial Day and, after working on May 30 and 31, will follow the same schedule until returning full-time on June 4.

And while members are away, clearly no work gets done, including Senate consideration of almost 300 of President Donald Trump’s nominations and a spending bill to fund the government, including the military, before the September 30 deadline.

In March, Trump signed a massive $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill that he said was necessary to fund the military, but he vowed never to sign a similar bill again.

The lack of progress in the Congress and what Republicans say is “historic obstruction” to putting in place the president’s administration led to the launch of the #MakeCongressWorkAgain campaign, spearheaded by Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga). Perdue led a similar effort a year ago that resulted in the Senate approving 77 nominees in one day ahead of the traditional August recess.

As Breitbart News reported, Perdue; Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots; Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs; and former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) held a press conference on Capitol Hill earlier this month.

“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 at the press conference. “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.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has spoken about delaying or even skipping the August recess, but so far talk is the thing taking place to solve the backlog and get the people’s business done.

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