Rep. Rob Wittman is urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cancel August recess in light of the backlog of work Congress needs to get done.
The Virginia Republican said he wants to see the House make progress on moving appropriation bills through committees before taking a long summer break.
“There’s still lots of work yet to be done,” Mr. Wittman told The Washington Times. “And for us to go home for essentially five weeks is just inconceivable to me. Nobody else in real life gets to do that.”
The House will return on Monday with just nine days left in session before breaking for the entire month of August.
Mr. Wittman referred to getting 12 funding bills passed as being Congress‘s “most basic job” in his letter to Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, whom he encouraged to keep the constituents in mind.
“Congress has not done its job,” Mr. Wittman wrote. “Our constituents expect us to stay and complete the work of the American people. They expect Congress to work diligently to pass critical national priorities and fund the government through regular order.”
The annual spending bills, however, have taken a back seat to President Biden’s goal of passing a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion social welfare bill.
Mr. Wittman has penned letters to House leadership, including when his party was in power, over canceling August recess for several years, though he‘s yet to get a response on his requests.
“I’ve been consistent on this through the years to ask that we stay in town. And I haven’t gotten a response back,” he said.
Mr. Wittman said he hasn’t gotten any colleagues to join him in his annual calls to cancel recess, though some have supported his proposed resolution to cancel August recess unless Congress passes its funding bills.
On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer wrote in a letter last week that he is considering having colleagues work into the recess, as lawmakers work to advance bipartisan infrastructure legislation that’s been debated for months.
“Please be advised that time is of the essence and we have a lot of work to do,” Mr. Schumer wrote. “Senators should be prepared for the possibility of working long nights, weekends, and remaining in Washington into the previously-scheduled August state work period.”
Mr. Wittman praised the move led by Mr. Schumer, signaling consideration for the cancelation of recess.
“There’s not much I agree with Senator Schumer on but I do agree with him for the Senate to stay in town until the appropriations bills get done,” Mr. Wittman said. “I think the House ought to do the same.”