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Bridget Johnson


July 31, 2013 - 4:05 pm

Two Virginia lawmakers are continuing their quest to get Congress to stay in session after Friday, but their colleagues appear determined to take off for five weeks.

“We haven’t got a budget deal. We don’t have appropriations bills for the next fiscal year. We’ve got this crazy word called sequestration, which I know Scott and I both feel is dramatically hurting people’s lives all across the country, particularly in Virginia, where we have got a lot of federal workers, government contractors. They’re getting laid off one day a week. They’re getting a 20 percent cut in pay. They’re getting no kind of August sequestration discount on their day care payments or rent payments or student loan payments, so we ought to stay here and do our work,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said on MSNBC today.

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) has sent out multiple calls over the past few weeks insisting that Congress stay in town over August to take care of business.

“And I’ve made clear to leadership and to our conference that our work is not done. We’ve only passed four of the 12 appropriations bills that fund the federal government. This is entirely within the control of the House of Representatives,” he said, appearing with Warner.

Rigell said he thinks the business background he and Warner share has steeled their resolve to reject recess.

“Our work is not done and as important as it is to be in the district — we go home every weekend, I do — we need to pass these bills. And that gives us really the moral foundation upon which to critique others. Absent us doing our work, I don’t really see how we can critique the other body,” Rigell said.

Some have criticized that Warner and Rigell are both within commuting distance in Virginia so shouldn’t be telling their colleagues from more far-flung regions to stay in Washington.

“I will acknowledge, you know, I’ve got it a little easier than most. But I guess one of the things I also want to make a point is that, you know, as folks contact my office…they’re not blaming the House or blaming the Senate or the red shirts or the blue shirts, they’re blaming all of us in Congress,” Warner said.

“And we talk about the Virginia way. And I think this is the Virginia way, of listening to one another. It’s not capitulation or finding some mushy middle. But there is a wise path forward. Pretty elusive, but we can find it,” Rigell added.

A few unidentified people were seen standing along Independence Avenue outside the House office buildings today holding a sign asking Congress to call off recess.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (3)
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What's the point? It's not like anything the House passes is going to go anywhere in the do-nothing Senate. It's all meaningless. This President does whatever he wants, and this Congress does nothing to stop him. They now are The Moot, serving no actual purpose, except for show.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, um... we knew in the last congressional election cycle that the overwhelming chance was A) We'd only take the house, and B) if so, the senate would refuse to pass anything passed by the house unless the house decided to pass something remarkably stupid written by the Democrats. The POINT of the congress as a whole right now is doing nothing, so they can throw a monkey wrench in the works in order to decelerate the decline. The goal is to have them continue in this manner until either another election changes the equilibrium and forces a strategy update, or until Obama learns that the government doing more to "help folks out" (translated in his personal language as giving more money to loyal party members to blow on projects of no discernible value) will never improve things. Oh, wait, Obama never learns. Okay, so until the next election cycle.

Yes, Obama has gone off the deep end and just started pretending he's an out-and-out king. What do you want the house to do, go over to the White House and tie him to the radiator? There aren't any teeth in the constitution to limit the abuse of executive power, except for the ability to vote the bums out. The founding fathers assumed we'd be smart enough to keep our government too small to, say, exert deviously partisan suppression campaigns on opponents, or shuttle massive amounts of illegal aliens to various polls. The concept of "absentee ballots" was not yet in effect. Turns out that if you're relentlessly amoral and willing to exploit such oversights, there's nothing but time stopping you from becoming the Imperial High Lord of Darkness, if you so wish.

But look on the bright side... they're not passing a budget. Any budget that looks good enough to Obama and the senate to get approved had better NOT get passed. Sitting pat on sequestration sounds just fine. I don't see why federal employees shouldn't feel the squeeze of the great recession just because their employer owns a money-printing operation. An awful lot of them are doing either nothing much, or things that actively harm the private sector anyway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Especially true of my congresscritter, Eric Cantor, who seems to have no impact one way or the other, and whose home is within 2 hours of the Capitol. It's just best that he come back home and play golf, or whatever it is he does for recreation.

He should actually have to wash and wax all of his constituents cars or something. He owes us for putting up with him.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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