Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) gave an exclusive interview to Breitbart News Deputy Political Editor Amanda House Tuesday on Capitol Hill, discussing the successful push to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel the Senate’s August recess to continue to pursue the Republican legislative agenda and confirm President Donald Trump’s nominees.
“I spent 28 years in the private sector before coming to Congress. I’ve never heard of such a thing as taking a month off in the summertime, an August recess,” Daines, who served as a senior executive both with consumer goods giant Proter & Gamble and Montana tech success story RightNow Technologies, told House. “If you’re gonna drain the swamp, you’ve gotta keep the pumps running in August. Let’s stay here, do the work of the people.”
Daines made an analogy to his wife’s experience as a first grade teacher. “If the kids aren’t behaving well, you cancel recess. Arguably, the Senate’s not behaving. We’ve got a backlog of 260 nominations for President Trump we’ve got to get completed,” he said.
House asked Daines if Americans could expect the Senate’s overdue funding bill to include money for the president’s signature wall on the southern border. “I hope it does,” Daines answered, expressing his dissatisfaction with his chamber’s inability to get funding in general passed. “Let’s move these spending bills through. It’s ridiculous that we were six months into the fiscal year this year before the spending bills finally got approved.”
“Can you imagine when I was running businesses for 28 years? And I went to the board and said we’re gonna wait till six months into the current year to pass a budget? You’d be fired,” Daines explained, calling obstruction from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “unprecedented.”
“We should fire the Senate, frankly,” Daines joked, expressing his hope funding bills will be passed through the Senate before the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
Daines also expressed strong support for congressional term limits. “I think people overstay their welcome in Washington, DC,” he told House. “At some point the swamp gets to the members … as they say, that hot tub turns into a cesspool.”
Asked about specific goals for future funding bills, Daines cited defunding planned parenthood and achieving a balanced budget. He was very weary of the kind of “omnibus” spending bills that have allowed Democrats to achieve so many of their own goals. Daines argued these were prone to “backroom” deals and “pet projects.”
“Any time there’s an omnibus, it’s ominous,” Daines said. “I hope president Trump vetoes a future omnibus.”
Daines was part of a group of senators, led by Georgia Senator David Perdue, commited to “Make Congress Work Again.” The senators sent a letter to McConnell last month asking him to force the Senate to work Mondays, Fridays, and weekends — and even cancel August recess — in order to clear the backlog of Donald Trump’s nominees waiting for confirmation, and fund the government before the eleventh hour.
McConnell announced Tuesday that he would, in fact, be canceling the August recess. McConnell cited many of the same concerns as Daines, including Democratic obstruction and a failure to pass an appropriations bill.