HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

House Republicans renew call to nix August recess, citing 'long list of pressing issues'

With time further expiring on House Republicans’ “long list” of legislative goals, members have again asked Speaker Paul Ryan to cancel the chamber’s August recess.

“During the 2016 elections, President Trump and Republican candidates running for the House and Senate promised the American people that with unified Republican government we could achieve many of the policy priorities that have been mere wishes for the last several years,” Arizona GOP Rep. Andy Biggs wrote in his letter to Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican.

Biggs and the 11 other House Republicans who signed the letter Friday cited a “long list of pressing issues on our docket” including the repeal of ObamaCare, passing a tax reform plan, reign in federal spending and working toward balancing the budget.

“The American people put their faith in us and are counting on us to carry out these goals,” they also wrote.

Congress on Friday broke for a roughly two-week Fourth of July recess and will return to Washington for about 14 legislative working days before their month-long August break.

The letter also cited the need to pass a federal budget and appropriate federal funding by Sept. 30, when the U.S. government technically runs out of money.

And it cited the need to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the National Flood Insurance Program and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The House Freedom Caucus -- roughly 30 of the chamber’s most conservative members including Biggs -- was among the first to support the effort to cancel the August recess.

The group said in early June that Congress must remain in session this summer to “continue working to accomplish the priorities of the American people.”

White House budget Director Mick Mulvaney recently said that he supports Congress staying in session through at least part of August.

And White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway has made clear that President Trump, a businessman and real estate mogul by trade, wants faster results.

“When he says drain the swamp, it’s not just about getting rid of all the crocodiles in the water that we don’t need. It’s about moving at a different pace,” she recently told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”

The GOP-led Senate is perhaps under an even tighter deadline, after leaving for July break without passing their ObamaCare overhaul bill.

Still, getting Republican congressional leaders to cancel or shorten the August recess, practically a perennial request, is unlikely.

Capitol Hill lawmakers historically use August to travel in delegations to foreign countries.

This year, a trip to China is scheduled through the U.S. Asia Institute, and a trip to Israel is being led by the American Israel Education Foundation, according to a high-ranking congressional aide.