Congress delays August recess to work on legislative goals


Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday Congress will postpone its August recess in order to make progress on its major legislative goals.

"In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August," McConnell said in a statement.

Lawmakers will wait until the third week of August before taking a break, as opposed to sticking to their scheduled recess, which was slated to begin July 31 and span the entire following month.

The announcement comes amid frustration over a lack of progress on the White House’s major policy goals – including health care and tax reform. A health care bill is still being debated by the Senate and a revised version is expected to come out Thursday, McConnell said Tuesday. The Congressional Budget Office will release a score of the bill early next week. Of the 52 GOP senators in the chamber, Republicans can only afford to lose the support of two for the bill to pass.

The GOP also faces a dwindling window to pass both health care and tax reform through the reconciliation process. They will need to include instructions for tax reform reconciliation measures in the next budget proposal, expected to be completed before the new fiscal year in October, at which time they will no longer have the fast-track mandate for health care.

The White House has insisted that health care reform will be completed this summer and tax reform by the end of this year. While administration officials have said they have been fervently working with lawmakers on formulating a tax proposal, though a concrete bill has yet to be introduced.