Agenda in Doubt, Pressure Builds for Senate to Cancel Recess

As it becomes increasingly likely Senate Republicans will be unable to pass their own health care reform bill in the next several weeks, GOP leadership is considering canceling the month-long August recess until the impasse can be breached.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell initially pushed for a July 4 vote on a closely guarded Senate bill but is now reportedly weighing keeping the Senate in session until it makes progress — rather than sending his members to their states without having delivered on the GOP’s most iconic promise.

The Senate’s inability to move forward on a partial repeal of Obamacare, after the House successfully passed a package in May, has thrown much of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda into doubt.

"I think there's a majority that probably supports being here," said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), according to The Hill. "I don't want to wait until the last week to be forced into a [continuing resolution]. That's ridiculous."

Perdue warned that the country is "facing the reality, if we don't we get some kind of tax package on the books this year," that a recession could occur.

Other senators expressed their support for canceling or delaying the recess and staying focused until the health care legislation materializes.

"Congress has no business taking a recess when the people's business remains unfinished," Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) told The Hill.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) told The Hill, "I think absolutely we should truncate or cancel recess. We have a huge agenda. I think we can get a lot of it done, but what we don't have is time … We can make more time."

While the Senate continues to mull over the idea, Trump has ramped up the pressure from his end. After meeting with several Obamacare victims in Ohio on June 7, Trump recounted how Americans' lives have been "completely upended" by Obamacare.

"So now it's the Senate's turn to act, and again I hope that they're going to act in a very positive manner. I can tell you the Republican senators are trying very hard. The Democrats are really in our way," Trump had said. "We want millions of Americans … to finally have the quality and affordable health care that they deserve."

GOP members in the House, which narrowly passed their own piece of health care legislation in May, also have been calling for Congress to remain in session and persevere in its work to alleviate American's burdens.

"We need to work through August recess to get everything done," Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told reporters earlier in June, noting that the Freedom Caucus has taken an official stance on the matter. "We believe that we need to stay through August to get through tax reform … and get our appropriations done."

On June 13, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said on "The Laura Ingraham Show" that reforming health care and repealing and replacing Obamacare remains one of Republican constituents' deepest concerns.

"It's still repeal and replace Obamacare. That's what we are hearing the most" from our constituents, McDaniel said. "They look at Washington and they say, 'Why aren't we getting this done?' And I will say, 'We are only five months in.' This is a huge issue. I think the Senate recognizes we have to get this done."

Last Modified: June 19, 2017, 11:17 am

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