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House Republicans are demanding that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) call the House back into session on time, ending the weeks-long recess and returning to work, and they’re taking to the House floor Tuesday afternoon to force recognition.
The House and Senate have been in recess since the beginning of April, but many Congressional legislators — including a number of Senate Republicans — are still in Washington, D.C., handling the after-effects of passing massive coronavirus relief packages like the CARES act, which included the Paycheck Protection Program that ran out of funds last week.
Republicans, Politico reports, believe the extended recess, which has Pelosi working from her mansion in San Francisco, California (home of the $24,000 SubZero side-by-side refrigerator/freezer), is forcing them to the outside of legislative negotiations — and they want back in.
“A group of House Republicans traveled back to D.C. early and are planning to seek recognition on the floor during today’s pro forma session,” Politico reported Tuesday. “Their mission: they want to ask about ‘the status of the House reopening’…while also drawing attention to Democratic leadership’s decision to keep lawmakers away from the Capitol while small business aid has stalled.”
The problem, the legislators, led by Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), say, is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is being left to negotiate with Democratic leadership for the House and Senate — a situation that carves other legislators, like Mast and his House Republican colleagues, out of the process.
This is especially troubling for those House Republicans who feel they should have a say on any deal struck to the extend the Paycheck Protection Program, and the opportunity to object to Democrat plans to force a bill through the House without presenting it to individual Members for approval.
Mast is one of only a few Republicans pressing for a mutiny, and those same Republicans know they have little leverage over Pelosi, who has a substantial enough majority in the House to control how legislation passes. But even President Donald Trump appears to be on their side. Last week, he repeatedly chided Pelosi for holing up in her home in San Francisco, and demanded she and others return to duty in Washington as “essential workers.”
And Republicans may get their wish — thanks to some far-left Democrats.
According to reports that emerged Tuesday morning from Roll Call and elsewhere, Democrats, who have struck a tentative deal with Senate Republicans on extending the PPP, are being forced to call the House back into session on Thursday, at least to pass the compromise bill.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and other members of the progressive “squad” are refusing to assent to the negotiated legislation because it fails to extend bailouts to city and state governments in addition to small businesses and health care facilities, dashing Pelosi’s hopes of unanimous consent.
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