Entries in Recess (6)


Democrats Call on GOP to Postpone Six-Week Campaign Recess

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- House Democrats protested a six-week recess that’s set to begin Friday, urging Speaker of the House John Boehner to reconsider allowing lawmakers to leave Washington for a final campaign blitz in their congressional districts.

Gathering on the steps of U.S. Capitol, Democratic representatives were “fired up” during the Friday morning photo opportunity -- blaming the lack of productivity on Congressional Republicans.

“Democrats are prepared to stay until we get the job done,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “That’s what we’re elected to do.”

Since lawmakers began a summer recess on Aug. 3, they have met on a total of eight days for legislative business, and won’t return until Nov. 14, after the election.

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., complained that it is “simply irresponsible” to recess now because there is outstanding legislation, such as a farm bill set to expire on Sept. 30, the Violence Against Women Act, and a Democratic bill to extend the middle-income tax cuts for taxpayers making less than $250,000.

“Shame on them,” Hoyer said. “Shame on them for abandoning our farmers, our economy and families who need us to act.”

Chanting in unison, ‘Work, work, work!’ at times, dozens of Democrats rallied behind Pelosi and the other party leaders.

“This is personal,” Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson, D-Conn., said. “People back home cannot understand the work ethic of this Congress. They don’t understand why we’re not staying here to get the job done.”

“Throughout the entire 112th Congress, the Republican majority in the House have put their own political interest ahead of the interests of the American people,” Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, D-S.C., said. “We see a continuation of that this week.”

At a news conference a short time later, Speaker Boehner deflected criticism aimed at the House GOP, and suggested House Democrats should blame Senate Democrats.

“When you think about the letter that [the House Democratic leadership] sent to me [Thursday] about us doing our work, how about the 40 jobs bills that are sitting in the United States Senate?” Boehner asked rhetorically. “The House is the only body to have passed a bill to stop all of the coming tax hikes. We have done our work. But here, Senate Democrats and a president -- where is their responsibility? Where is their leadership? It just doesn’t exist.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democrats Release Video Highlighting Angry Town Halls

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a web video Thursday as part of its “Accountability August” campaign to try and shine a light on Republican members of Congress -- specifically vulnerable ones -- avoiding town halls or greeting angry constituents.

Titled “Backlash,” the video features local news reports and video footage from protests outside Speaker John Boehner’s office in West Chester, Ohio, Rep. Lou Barletta’s office in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania,  and Rep. Paul Ryan’s in Kenosha, Washington, amongst several others.

There is home video and news footage of constituents interrupting town halls all over the country including in Michigan chanting, “We need jobs,” and angry citizens asking about Medicare being taken away from them in Illinois.

There are also news reports from Arizona on Rep. Ben Quayle avoiding town halls during the recess and a billboard put up in Rep. Sean Duffy’s Wisconsin district that reads, “Congressman Sean Duffy Chose Millionaires Over Your Medicare.”  It splices together coverage of districts all over the country pounding the message of citizens upset at Republicans nationwide.

The video starts with a quote from Rep. Steve Israel, the Chairman of the DCCC who predicted earlier this month that the August recess, where members of Congress traditionally hold town halls and meet with their constituents, would get “hot.”

The DCCC claims Republican members of Congress are “choosing millionaires over Medicare.”  The unruly town halls GOP members are facing are comparable to the ones Democratic members faced two years ago during the health care debate.

Paul Lindsay, the Communications Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, responded to the video in a statement by pointing to President Obama’s approval ratings.

“It’s no secret that Americans are frustrated with Washington, and the outlet for their frustration can be found in the double-digit collapse of President Obama’s approval rating this summer.  Unlike the Democrats who refused to acknowledge the message from Americans in August of 2009, House Republicans will continue listening to their constituents and fighting the job-destroying agenda that the President and his party continue to pursue,” Lindsay said in the statement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lawmakers' Summer Recess is No Break from Voter Anger

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Summer recess has been anything but relaxing for many D.C. lawmakers who've returned home only to find that voters are hopping mad about the economy.

House Republicans are particularly distressed.  Rather than being treated like conquering heroes after swamping Democrats in 2010, they're finding out that constituents are cutting them very little slack, a sign that they could be thrown out of office 15 months from now.

While President Obama has taken a lion's share of the blame for the sputtering economy and high unemployment, the GOP is also getting lambasted for doing little to turn things around.  The recent fight over the debt ceiling and downgrading by Standard and Poor's has not enhanced the Republican brand.

Illinois Republican Congressman Timothy Johnson admits, "I’ve never seen people as angry as they are right now.  They’re angry at the whole system and evidencing that in their comments to me."

Freshman GOP Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona has been hearing the same at his town hall meetings, saying voters are "very angry.  They want to get back to work and they feel government is in the way with rules and regulations."

Gosar concedes that he could be a one-term Congressman if things don't turn around.

Johnson and Gosar are among the brave lawmakers who are willing to endure the wrath of constituents.  Some Congressmen have decided to skip talking to large groups all together for fear of things getting of hand.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Congress: 'Vacation, You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me' 

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As members of Congress take a five-week summer recess this August, some constituents are starting to question given the state of the economy, whether a vacation is really what Congress needs (or for that matter, deserves) and if the nation would be better served with members of Congress working on the economy in Washington, D.C. instead of working on their tans.

Last week, during the height of the debt ceiling debate, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) choked up as he wistfully lamented on the Senate floor that he hasn't seen the pomegranates growing on his farm's fruit trees.

For most Americans, there would be a three-word response to Reid's story, only two of which are printable: "Boo" and "Hoo."

“Vacation?  You’ve got to be kidding me,” Diane from Boynton Beach, Fla. wrote in a letter to her senator, “Why are you going on a five week vacation when you have not even done anything regarding jobs and the economy? When are you going to address these issues?”

Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., responded today via a weekly video blog responding to mail from constituents. Rubio said that this is a comment that his office is hearing often between phone calls and mail to his office.

“I don’t decide the schedule for Congress,” Rubio first opens up with, adding that the schedule for the annual August recess is set by the Congressional leadership. He adds though that it does provide opportunities for senators to get home to the states they represent and be more plugged into their constituents.

“What I’m going to do in the month of August is travel the state of Florida, and I do think there’s some wisdom in that,” he says, “we’re hearing from you directly and that’s what I intend to do for the month of August.”

He says Congress will be back to work addressing the long-term issues in September.

The takeaway for millions of frustrated Americans, however, could be that a steady job with a guaranteed five weeks of vacation are just some of the perks Congress members enjoy that millions of their constituents do not.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate on 'Standby,' Senators Express Frustration About Uncertainty of Recess

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-ND, said Wednesday that he will unveil the Democratic budget plan to address the debt and deficit over a 10-year period next week and that he hopes that will “stimulate” the negotiations over the debt ceiling underway in Congress.

Conrad admitted to reporters that the “chances are pretty good” that the Senate will be in session next week, cancelling the 4th of July recess.

Aides to the senator say that he will first brief his colleagues on the plan, and then will reveal the details. This could be pushed back if the Senate is indeed on break next week.

“We want to have a chance to do this, a comprehensive package -- which it is. And this is an old plan to deal with the deficits and the debt,” Conrad told reporters in the halls of the Capitol. “It certainly has borrowed heavily from things in the fiscal commission but it is not identical to that -- has significant differences from that. But it is even larger in terms of deficit reduction.”

Coburn would not make any details -- or dollar figures -- known, but said that the details will come and hopefully, he said, will help the debt ceiling discussion.

“Hopefully it will help stimulate this discussion and negotiation that’s going on,” Conrad said.

After the special meeting of Senate Democrats Wednesday afternoon called by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV., there was mass confusion among the senators themselves whether the Senate would be in session next week or out of session next week, on the regularly scheduled July 4t recess. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office says there is “no word” at this point. Many Senate Republicans have called for the Senate to remain in session and work on the debt ceiling negotiations.

The confusion was rampant between senators leaving the Hill Wednesday evening after the Senate adjourned until Thursday shortly after 8 p.m.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


As the National Debt Looms, Senate GOPs Oppose Holiday Recess

Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- Ten Senate Republicans on Wednesday called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to cancel next week’s planned July 4 holiday recess and stay working on the debt ceiling negotiations.

“Our country is going bankrupt, we should not be going on a holiday,” Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said at a hastily called press conference Wednesday afternoon. “We need to come back in session of the United States Senate and actually start addressing the problem. And until we do and I think I have a little support on this, my intention will be to continue to object and continue to withhold my consent for doing business as usual in Washington.”

The Republicans made their call as the Senate Democratic caucus huddled Wednesday afternoon in a specially called meeting to decide whether to work through their July 4 recess next week, as suggested by President Obama Wednesday.

“Let’s stay here next week, let’s not have a recess -- let’s not even have a pro forma session,” Senator David Vitter, R-La., said. "Let's not be here just to be here. Let’s be on the floor debating in a constructive way the biggest challenge our country faces, which is spending and debt.”

Many of the senators who stood up Wednesday in support of working though the recess were freshmen senators. As new members, they spoke from a unique vantage point, saying they were shocked that this is actually the way Washington works.

“I am just shocked by the lack of urgency that there is around here, about these things that we’re facing about this debt issue we’re facing, I hope that we deal with it quickly,” Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said. “I hope we start working on it yesterday. Because we don’t have the luxury of time.”

The jury is still out as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid meets with his caucus and figures out whether senators will have to punch in to work in Washington next week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio