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White House: No August Recess Until Appropriations, Nominations Done

Marc Short appeared with Sen. David Perdue and conservative leaders

White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short said that an effort to pressure Democrats to get work done before August had administration backing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short said that an effort to pressure Democrats to get work done before August had administration backing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House hopes the Senate will get spending bills done and curtail the nominations backlog before the August recess, but it is backing a call to cut down the break if needed to overcome delays in confirming President Donald Trump’s nominations.

Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, made that clear during an event on Capitol Hill Tuesday with conservative leaders, putting the onus on Democrats to move the process along.

“If we reach August and [they] still have not completed appropriations work or not confirmed our nominees, then of course we would like to see Congress stay in and do its work,” Short said.

“We think it’s not work for the administration,” Short said. “It’s work for the American people.”

Leaders of both parties are usually loath to spend more time in Washington during an election year, and with Republicans facing a potential Democratic wave, they might be eager to get their members back home on the trail. 

He was appearing at an event hosted by Sen David Perdue, a Georgia Republican who has been closely aligned with President Donald Trump, and also featuring former South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint.

DeMint, who recently left as head of the Heritage Foundation, is now chairman of the Conservative Partnership Institute.

Perdue said that he anticipated another letter this week from a group of Senate Republicans to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expressing support for weekend sessions and delaying recesses, including the one in August, to pressure Democrats to move ahead on more nominations.

“This year we have a number of senators who will submit a letter to the leader later this week, hopefully,” Perdue said, with a message to the majority leader that, “we are willing to do whatever is necessary to get these confirmations accomplished.”

In conjunction with the event, leaders of the Conservative Action Project distributed an April 27 memo to Congress suggesting August recess be pushed back “until sufficient progress has been made confirming the president’s nominees.”

The memo also suggests the break should be truncated up until, “government funding legislation has been openly debated in the House and Senate with a full opportunity for votes on amendments, and is approved by both houses and sent to the president.”

Short said the Trump administration hoped work would get done in a timely fashion on both the spending and confirmation front, and his primary purpose in being at Tuesday’s event was to back the efforts of the conservative groups and Perdue to highlight the issue.

Based on the normal course of consideration of spending legislation, it is unlikely that even under the best case scenario a batch of regular fiscal 2019 spending measures could be approved in time to allow for much of a break, at all.

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