By: Zack Duvall
As pressure mounted with many in the GOP calling for a delay or complete cancellation of the annual August break for lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell formally announced Tuesday that the Senate will not adjourn until the third week of August. His office released a formal statement shortly after noon on Tuesday citing “important legislative items” and the fact that there are still over 50 Trump administration nominees that need to be appointed to replace Obama administration holdovers.
“In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items, and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August.” McConnell said in the statement released on Tuesday.
The delay in the August recess comes after multiple attempts by Republican lawmakers to pass their replacement of the failing Obamacare and in-fighting that is causing even the most loyal GOP members to break ranks and say they will vote no on the currently proposed law.
Some Republican lawmakers, such as Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, are optimistic that even if the healthcare law isn’t passed, infrastructure and tax reform bills could be pushed through during the additional working period.
“I’m looking forward to passing tax reform, and infrastructure bills as well. That’s what the American people care about.” Kennedy told Fox News shortly after the delay was announced on Tuesday.
Congress is also under pressure to pass various spending bills to fund the budget before the September 30 deadline. None of the 12 annual spending bills that fund federal agencies have been passed to as of Wednesday morning.
However, the main focus of the delay is expected to be the current healthcare debate and law proposed by Republican leadership. Senator McConnell has said that if the current bill does fail to be passed he was fully prepared to pass a bill that would “prop up” the failing health insurance marketplaces, until a formal healthcare bill can be passed by Congress.
White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, spoke about the status of the healthcare proposal and told reporters that he was confident that the current bill would be passed and that he believed that Republican leadership and GOP congressional members would come together and pass a bill before the delayed recess.
“I don’t think it’s in half as much trouble as the media wants it to be in. If anyone can get it done, Mitch McConnell, President Trump working together with the Senate can… whether it be before the August recess or during the August recess, the president expects the Senate to fulfill the promises it made to the American people.” Priebus said of the current bill that has remained stalled as various Republican lawmakers voice their concern over the potential risks associated with the proposed law.
President Trump had taken to Twitter before the announcement to delay the August recess to weigh in on the issue Monday.
“I cannot imagine that Congress would dare to leave Washington without a beautiful new healthcare bill fully approved and ready to go.”