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By Alexa Archambault
Republican congressmen are now putting pressure on House leadership to delay August recess, just one day after the Senate decided to push its own recess back by two weeks.
The conservative group of House members known as the Freedom Caucus upped the ante in its calls to stay in session until key aspects of the Republican legislative agenda are fleshed out.
“It is not just a delay for political purposes or for the optics, it’s a delay to get things done on behalf of the American people,”House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows told reporters Wednesday. “If we don’t have results, then we shouldn’t have the recess.”
While the Freedom Caucus officially called for a shorter recess back in June, it is now providing more specifics on why such a delay is necessary.
Meadows laid out three legislative tasks that he believes must be completed before the House considers leaving Washington: increasing the debt ceiling, finishing the Obamacare repeal and replacement effort and finalizing tax reform legislation.
“If we have those three things done, then we can go home for recess and talk about the accomplishments that we’ve made on behalf of the American people,” Meadows said.
Other Freedom Caucus members expressed their fervent willingness to bear the D.C. summer heat for a little longer.
“For Heaven’s sake, we know what a majority of our district has been demanding,” said Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert. “And we need to follow through.”
“I know people have made plans in August to do other things,” Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona added. “But in reality, this is what we were elected to do. And if we want to keep our promises … we need to be here.”
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell succumbed to pressure from members of his Republican caucus to delay recess, there is doubt that House Speaker Paul Ryan will take action on calls from GOP representatives.
According to a Wednesday report by The Hill, House leadership has no plans of suspending recess unless the Senate can find a way to pass a health care bill, something that is still being negotiated amongst Senate Republicans.