Weekly Update: I’m here, ready to work
By Congressman Wittman
July 21, 2018
We are in the same place once again. We have only completed six of the twelve funding bills, meaning there is still so much work to be done. However, Speaker Ryan plans to adjourn the House next week for the annual August Recess. And once again, I am pushing members to stay in Washington to get the job done.
Funding bills are extremely important. For years, we have found ourselves budgeting by crisis through Continuing Resolutions (CRs). Under a CR, all spending remains the same, meaning that we can’t fund new programs, cut outdated ones, or plan for the future. Our military is also unable to properly budget, leading to insufficient training, unmaintained equipment, and decreased readiness. By passing appropriations bill through regular order, and on time, our government can run as it should. Fiscal Year 2019 begins on October 1, 2018, so it is critical that Congress pass funding bills by then.
With fewer than fifteen legislative days until the end of the fiscal year, I believe Congress should remain in Washington if the work is not complete. That is why I’ve introduced for many years H.Res 43, the Stay on Schedule (S.O.S.) resolution, to change congressional procedures to prohibit the House from taking an August recess unless it has passed all regular appropriations bills by July 31. We must change the culture in Washington, and I have been leading the charge to hold Members to the highest possible standard.
I appreciate that district work periods allow Members to visit with folks back in their respective communities. If the Speaker refuses to keep the House in session, I will be spending my August traveling across the First District meeting with the constituents and discussing what issues are most important to them. However, I do not want to have to explain why Congress was not able to finish the work.
In June, I led a letter to Speaker Ryan, that several of my colleagues signed on to, that urged him to keep Members in Washington until we have done our jobs. I stand ready to work around the clock to get the government funded before we break in August, well before the September 30 deadline. This week, in the Congressional Record, I urged members to stay in town. I wrote that we should clear our schedules and stay in Washington for the month of August to finish the business of the people.
As we approach the August recess, I’m prepared to stay in Washington as long as it takes. These issues are too important to delay.