The GOP’s long-stalled agenda is boiling over.
A group of 10 senators is sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday morning asking for the GOP leader to shorten the August recess — or cancel it altogether — if the party does not make significant headway on its priorities in July, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO. The letter comes right after Congress left Thursday and scattered across the country for a July 4 recess.
Spearheaded by Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, the bloc of 10 senators said the five-week break should be on the table if Republicans don’t make progress on repealing Obamacare, passing a budget, averting a government shutdown at the end of September, avoiding a debt default and get to their top priority: Reforming the tax code.
“Our current Senate calendar shows only 33 potential working days remaining before the end of the fiscal year. This does not appear to give us enough time to adequately address the issues that demand immediate attention. Therefore, we respectfully request that you consider truncating, if not completely foregoing, the scheduled August state work period, allowing us more time to complete our work.” the senators wrote.
In addition, to Perdue, the letter is signed by Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Joni Ernst of Iowa, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Mike Lee of Utah, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Luther Strange of Alabama, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Dan Sullivan of Alaska. The group includes many of the most recently elected GOP senators, a group hungry for accomplishment.
The House Freedom Caucus similarly asked House Speaker Paul Ryan to cancel the August break.
The asks to cancel the cherished vacation, when D.C. is at its most steamy and uncomfortable, shows how frustrated Republicans are becoming after their initial plans to quickly repeal and replace Obamacare have hit a rut and backed up the rest of their agenda. The GOP has still not found success in its health reform efforts, and a massive convergence of fiscal deadlines is awaiting the party in September that will further delay tax reform. The party appears extremely unlikely to pass the 12 annual spending bills and has no apparent plan to deal with the debt ceiling, which is expected to hit in late September or early October.
“The stakes are much higher this year. We simply cannot afford to lose any additional time in resolving these issues when tax reform is hanging in the balance. Robust change to our tax code is our single most important economic growth tool, and there is already growing anticipation for us to act,” the senators said. “Failure to deliver could have devastating economic consequences.”