Democratic Rep. Blasts Congress For Being In Recess

( At least one Democrat is not happy with the fact that the House of Representatives is on a month-long recess.

This week, California Representative Ro Khanna called it “absurd” that the chamber she’s a member of is on recess while millions of Americans are hurting. She urged Congress to return to Washington, D.C., to keep working on an economic stimulus deal.

Khanna herself has remained in Washington as she continues to advocate for a deal between the House, Senate and White House.

During a town hall on Facebook Tuesday, Khanna said:

“I think Congress should be in session. I think it’s absurd for Congress to be going on a break during a pandemic and a national crisis.”

Both the Senate and House typically recess during the entire month of August. But Khanna said this shouldn’t be the case as the country is in desperate need of help. They can’t wait for members of Congress to come back from vacation to get the relief they need.

Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said they will call members back to Washington quickly to vote on a coronavirus stimulus package is agreed upon, but members are free to leave the city until then.

The House isn’t expected to hold any votes until the week of September 14 otherwise.

In response to a question during the Facebook town hall, Khanna said of the recess:

“I don’t think this is a smart move to recess, and I agree with you. I share your frustration.”

Pelosi and White House officials have signaled that they are willing to restart negotiations on a potentially smaller package of relief programs that could run through the end of 2020. Then, they would reconvene at the start of 2021 — after the next president is elected — to see where things stand.

To date, though, the negotiation teams of Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin haven’t met again.

For his part, McConnell is urging the sides to start talking again. On Tuesday, he said:

“The American people are sick of the stalemate. I think it’s time for everybody to get back to the table, and let’s get a deal done.”

While President Donald Trump signed four executive orders last week intended to provide some relief to Americans, they fall short of what is really needed, most people agree. There’s also the question of whether Trump’s orders are even legal, since they seek to distribute money — and that is the job of the legislative branch.

While negotiations remain stale, millions of Americans are adjusting to life without a $600 per-week federal boost to their unemployment benefits. Both sides have said they want to enact some kind of extension to this, but Americans have seen a steep drop-off in what they’re receiving while the stalemate continues.

As Khanna stressed, it’s difficult for any progress to be made in talks while Congress is in recess.