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Ryan Teases August Recess Delay

If Senate delivers health care bill, “we’re going to stay”

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said his chamber may stay after the start of the scheduled August recess to work on health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Speaker Paul D. Ryan said his chamber may stay after the start of the scheduled August recess to work on health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that if the Senate delivers a health care bill before the summer is over, he’d be open to joining Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in keeping his chamber in during at least part of the August recess.

The Wisconsin Republican said that if the Senate produced the legislation at the same time members prepare to fly home for a month, “we’re going to stay and finish health care.”

Ryan also addressed a recent uproar over the chamber’s dress code. He said he would work with the House sergeant-at-arms to update the code, without providing specifics on whether it would address women wearing sleeveless dresses and open-toe shoes, which became an issue last week.

The protocol was not devised by Ryan, he reminded reporters Thursday. The guidelines date back to the Jefferson’s Manual.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi applauded the speaker’s announcement. In a tweet, she said she was glad to see Ryan “is updating the dress code for the House Floor. These unwritten rules are in desperate need of updates.”

Pelosi on Thursday also expressed her support for an amendment by fellow California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee that would repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Pelosi said Lee’s amendment was a good first step in re-evaluating the authorization, which passed the House shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It paved the way for the war in Afghanistan but has since been cited for a wide array of uses around the globe.

Pelosi called the AUMF “old” and reiterated that similar efforts were made by Lee under the Obama administration. In the Senate, Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., have led efforts to update the authorization to reflect contemporary times and conflict

The House Appropriations Committee adopted Lee’s amendment in June.

If passed as part of the eventual Defense appropriations bill, the repeal would take place eight months after enactment.

Despite the bipartisan support on the powerful committee, Lee said in a statement Wednesday that during a discussion with Ryan, the speaker had not committed to preserving the amendment when the measure goes to the Rules Committee.

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter @remawriter.