Dems Raise Possibility of Working Through August Recess Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., gives an opening statement during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to examine the FY 2022 budget request for the Treasury Department on June 23, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Thursday, 24 June 2021 08:14 AM
Some Democrat senators now say they are willing to work through at least a part of the scheduled August recess to try to push ahead with the party’s legislative agenda, according to The Hill.
The Senate is scheduled for a two-week recess starting on Friday. After the break, the Senate will be in session for four weeks, until Aug. 6. It is then scheduled for a recess until Sept. 13.
The Hill noted negotiations on police reform have slowed down. And there appears to be no progress on immigration reform or gun violence legislation. The outlet pointed out Senate Democrats have only just started work on a reconciliation package, which is aimed at passing legislation that doesn’t have support from Republicans.
A bipartisan group of senators reached a tentative framework on a $953 billion infrastructure deal Wednesday.
The Associated Press reported that President Joe Biden's top aides met with senators for back-to-back meetings on Capitol Hill and later talked with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as the president reaches for a signature domestic achievement with his $4 trillion infrastructure plans.
However, the plan from the group of 21 senators is far less, with $559 billion in new spending. But it would launch a process this summer that could open the door to Biden's big proposals, according to the wire service.
"I’m in favor of working right through" the August recess, said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., a member of the Senate Budget Committee.
"My view is we need to keep at it. I’ve been a strong proponent of really working to get the caucus fully focused on working as fast as possible," he said of the infrastructure negotiations.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said he’s also willing to stay in town during August to get things done.
"I’m very supportive of accelerating the momentum to counter the delay-and-obstruct tactics" of Republicans, Merkley said. "We need to use every day we can possibly use this year."
But Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., downplayed calls to nix the recess.
"I don’t know if we’ll have to stay," he said. "I hope we don’t, but we’ve got to get our work done. There’s a lot to do and the Senate is a slow-moving vehicle, on a good day."
And The Hill noted pressure is mounting.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., added: "I’m running out of patience and the Senate is running out of time, so working for at least part of the August recess ought to be on the table."