In 2010 when he was elected to Congress, Allen West wrote a letter to then-majority leader Eric Cantor saying there were too many days off and too many retreats scheduled in the congressional calendar. His biggest concern was the fact that Congress was scheduled to be in session just 123 days, only one-third of the entire year.
“We have to show the American people we are going to be different than years past,” West said. “We are there for one reason and one reason only, to work for the constituents of the districts we are so privileged to represent. I hope that if it becomes clear that we are not meeting the promise we made to the American people, leadership will modify the schedule in order for us to accomplish the important task we have before us.”
Fast forward to 2017. And sadly, not much has changed. Even though Republicans control majorities in the House and Senate, and we have a Republican in the White House, Congress seems more gridlocked than ever.
Where is the Obamacare repeal and replacement? Where is tax reform? Stuck in the swamp apparently.
But now some Republicans are beginning to think maybe they should do a bit more work.
Per The Hill, Alarmed by the stalemate on healthcare reform, lack of progress on tax reform and appropriations bills that are far behind schedule, Republican lawmakers across Congress are increasingly willing to consider canceling the month-long August recess.
Senate Republican negotiators reported that they are not close to a deal on healthcare reform and that scheduling a vote by July 4, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pushed, is likely unrealistic.
That impasse has held up work on a budget resolution, which is necessary to move tax reform and the annual appropriations bills.
Once Republicans vote on a budget resolution for 2018, it will wipe out the special vehicle they plan to use to pass healthcare reform with a simple majority vote — a vehicle that was set up by the budget resolution for 2017.
Lawmakers calculate there are only 45 legislative days until the end of the fiscal year, on Sept. 30.
Republicans scored a big win by confirming conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. They’ve also rolled back 14 regulations from the Obama administration through the Congressional Review Act, but they haven’t made much progress on big-ticket bills.
But what else do we have to show for the first six months of President Trump’s term? Mostly a lot of rancor, murmurs of impeachment and endless hours of testimony over “Russian involvement.”
Heading home to an August recess empty-handed isn’t going to make constituents happy. Once again, we did the hard work and got y’all elected. Now it’s time for you to do your damn jobs!
[This article was written by Michele Hickford, author of the brutally honest and bitingly funny Do I Need To Slap You?]