Amid all the controversy surrounding health care, people have been calling on the House of Representatives as well as the Senate to cancel their month-long August recess until they are able to pass the American Health Care Act. One notable supporter of this idea is Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina.
At a Wednesday press conference, he maintained that until Congress can pass a budget, healthcare reform as well as tax reform, they should not have an August recess and instead cancel it. Specifically, he told reporters the following,
“We need to finish the Obamacare repeal and replacement effort. Even though it is not a full repeal or a full replacement we need to go ahead and finish that. We need to agree on a set of principles on legislative text for tax reform. We need to be bold, and we need to make sure we can put it in front of the American people, which means that we need to have a corporate tax that goes down to 16%, we need to double the standard deduction which would put $1,500 back in the pockets of moms and dads and aunts and uncles, and if we have those three things done then we can go home for recess and talk about the accomplishments we have made for the American people. Until we get results, there should be no recess.”
Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio expressed similar sentiments when he went before a slew of reporters and listed the litany of work the House of Representatives still has to do. He reportedly said the following to a press pool,
“To put this all in context, before September 30th, we have CHIP reauthorization, FAA reauthorization, flood insurance reauthorization, and this little bill that has to fund the government for our fiscal year. By October we have to do a debt ceiling. Sometime before the end of this year we have to do FISA. So those are all of the things that just have to happen. We also think there should be hearings. Hearings that should take place on the CBO and the methodology and the determinations they made that led to the results on the House health care bill. We think there should be hearings on the Comey and Lynch matter and the investigation that they called “a matter.”
Not to mention the most important thing that the American people elected us to do which the Chairman spoke about which is repealing and replacing Obamacare. In fact, doing tax reform and reducing the tax burden on the American people, building a wall and securing our southern border, infrastructure, all those things that we have campaigned. It’s time to make key decisions on these things that the Chairman has outlined: the debt ceiling, the Affordable Care Act repeal, and of course what the tax reform package is going to look like. We should be here and we should get the work done. We should get the results that the American people expect us to produce.”
However, it was Congress that was able to pass the AHCA which now sits in the Senate. It has been Senate Majority leadership that has failed to broker the proper deals with moderate Republicans to get their ‘yes’ vote on the bill.
Why should Congress cancel their recess because of Senate inefficiency? Recess is often used by members to go to their home district and have town hall meetings as well as meetings with organizations. Should those people suffer because the Senate can’t do their job?
Meadows refused to back down when he was pressed regarding Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell famously indicated that he felt Republicans should broker a deal with moderate Democrats on health care. Meadows responded,
“At this point, we seem to be hamstrung and allowing eight Democrats to decide the direction of this country. We, [the House] were able to do a repeal bill that most of us voted for, and the American people were willing to send it to President Trump, and to suggest Chuck Schumer wants to work on a repeal bill goes against his rhetoric.”
The North Carolinian applauded the Senate Majority Leader’s decision to convene an August recess in the third week of the month instead of the first. In a joint statement, the Freedom Caucus released comments regarding the issue stating,
“How long do the American people have to wait for a tax cut? We have been talking about repealing Obamacare for seven years and talking about tax reform for at least 12 months; we need to pass the president’s agenda.”
The House Freedom Caucus has received a lot of backlash in recent months. It was their work that destroyed the chances of the AHCA getting voted on the first time. They refused to vote for it collectively until the President negotiated with them in the final hours before its passage. While they are applauded for their conservative values they are also castigated for not thinking independently but only in group constructs.
They still remain a thorn in the side of leadership.