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.