Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
As the August District Work Period begins, House Republicans have little to tout back home in their districts. They left Washington with a long list of unfinished business that will need to be addressed when Congress reconvenes in September:
FUNDING OUR GOVERNMENT
September 30 marks the end of the fiscal year, and Republicans will need to work on a bipartisan basis to fund the government. As we have seen in the past, Republicans cannot fund the government without Democratic votes and will need to negotiate a bipartisan budget agreement before the end of September. Unfortunately, they’ve wasted the last couple of weeks pushing forward with a partisan strategy even their own Members know cannot become law.
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA): “We spend too much time, energy and capital here in getting people to vote for the first launch, for the takeoff, knowing damn well a lot of those same people won’t be there for the landing… They won’t be there for the real appropriations package, the real numbers. That’s the problem… I’ve seen this movie before… And we all know how this is going to end.” [CQ Budget Tracker, 7/26/17]
PAYING OUR NATION’S BILLS
The U.S. reached the debt ceiling in March, and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin believes the ability to use “extraordinary measures” to avoid default will last until September 29th. Despite his urging, Republicans left town without taking action, which will cost taxpayers and create uncertainty for the economy.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin: “As I've suggested in the past, based upon our best estimate at the time, we do have funding through September, but I have urged Congress to take this up before they leave for the recess… Right now effectively, as opposed to borrowing in the market at lower rates, we're borrowing and making our trust funds whole at slightly higher rates, so there is a real cost to doing that… There's also an implied cost of uncertainty into the market. And the longer we wait, that more that uncertainty will be.” [Reuters, 7/26/17]
Republicans have a responsibility to work with Democrats to make sure our nation pays its bills on time – not take us to the brink of default by insisting on tying the debt limit to partisan poison pill measures.
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) REAUTHORIZATION
The Federal Aviation Administration must be reauthorized by the end of September. Republicans remain deeply divided on the issue of air traffic control privatization.
The September 30 deadline looms for the National Flood Insurance Program, currently holding a $25 million dollar debt. Republicans must come to an agreement to assist the flood prone areas of the United States.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program must be reauthorized before October. Republicans are neglecting to take acting on a program providing vital health care for children across the United States.
This would be a long to-do list for a well-functioning majority. Unfortunately, we have seen anything but a well-functioning House. Instead, Republican control of both chambers has been plagued by division and dysfunction. Here is a look at what Republicans have said about the last seven months in the GOP-led Congress:
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC): “September is going to be a very difficult month. I mean, obviously all of this is coming into play right away, all the fiscal issues and deadlines are going to make it extremely difficult to get everything done in a piece-by-piece basis.” [The Hill, 7/28/17]
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ): “There is so much work to be done…it blows my mind that we’re probably not going to be here in August.” [Heavy.com, 7/28/17]
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY): "The biggest issues that we promised the American people—tax reform, repealing Obamacare, border security—these things haven't happened. And it's not the president's fault, it's the Congress' fault." [WJLA, 7/18/17]
Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA): “We got a lot of heavy lifting, so it's just incomplete right now. Not enough homework turned in.” [WJLA, 7/18/17]
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): “The idea that we are going to leave here and go home for five weeks makes absolutely no sense. We should be here. We should get the work done, and we should produce the results the American people elected us to produce.” [Washington Examiner, 7/17/17]
Rep. Steve Womack (R-AK): “We’d better get our act together. We’re better than this. … We’re not governing right now. We’re stuck.” [Politico, 6/29/17]
Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY): “The fact that we’re not getting to these issues — health care, budget, tax reform — is frustrating. We came here to move the needle.” [Politico, 6/29/17]
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “We have all of these issues sitting out there that we have no schedule for being resolved.” [Politico, 6/29/17]
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “Everything piles up, we go to the edge of the cliff, shut down the government, then we have an omnibus or a continuing resolution where we can vote yes or no. No amendments, no improvements, nothing.” [Politico, 6/5/17]
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I’m very frustrated ... we’re going to do all these things by Sept. 30? Give me a break. We’re going to cut taxes, pass health care, set aside sequestration?” [Politico, 6/5/17]
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