Wittman to Pelosi: Stay in town, work for Americans
WASHINGTON – This week, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to keep the House in-session through August to complete critical legislative items, especially in light of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Wittman wrote, “Many Americans are struggling to make ends meet and are facing significant uncertainty about their future. Congress must work on solutions to combat the economic, educational, and health issues resulting from COVID-19.
“But Congress has not done its job,” Wittman continued. “Our constituents expect us to stay and complete the work of the American people. The American people expect Congress to work diligently to pass critical national priorities.”
The consequence of failing to pass funding bills by the end of the fiscal year is a continuing resolution (CR). Congressman Wittman has long believed that CRs are a short-term solution to a long-term problem and an abdication of Congress’ duties and responsibilities. CRs are detrimental to our military’s ability to perform the missions we call on them to do. They lead to insufficient training, unmaintained equipment, and decreased readiness.
Congressman Wittman has been working diligently for increasing Congressional accountability. For years, Congressman Wittman has introduced the No Budget No Pay Act that says if Congress doesn’t pass a budget on time Members don’t get a paycheck, the Stay on Schedule Resolution that says if Congress doesn’t pass all appropriations bills by July 31, the House should stay in session and continue its work instead of adjourning for August recess, and the Inaction Has Consequences Act that says if Members of Congress do not complete appropriations bills by the end of the fiscal year, they will not receive a paycheck. He believes that we must work for a permanent solution that will provide a path to fiscal certainty for our federal agencies and hardworking Americans, especially during these critical times.
Click here or read below for Congressman Wittman’s letter in full:
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
Today, I write to urge you and the House Leadership to cancel August recess if the House has not addressed the many critical issues facing our Nation and the American people. Also, I would like to offer my full support to working on bipartisan, realistic funding bills, even if the House must convene during late nights, weekends and forgo August recess. Our chamber has major issues affecting the American people that deserve thorough debate and examination. Therefore, I urge you to cancel the August recess and keep members of the House in Washington to do the people’s work.
The House has yet to complete consideration of the twelve annual appropriation bills on the floor. Furthermore, the House has additional pressing pieces of legislation that need addressing before it can responsibly send members back to their respective districts, such as a future COVID-19 relief package and the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) of 2020. With fewer than forty legislative days until the end of 2020, Congress should remain in Washington until this work is complete.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are struggling to make ends meet and facing significant uncertainty about their future. Congress must work on solutions to combat the economic, educational, and health issues resulting from COVID-19. Moreover, protecting the ports and harbors that are the lifeblood of coastal communities has been one of my top priorities, and full consideration of that critical piece of legislation must be had.
I appreciate that district work periods allow members to visit with constituents back in their respective communities, but it has become a habit for Congress to abandon a long “to do” list in the rush to get out of town. But Congress has not done its job. Our constituents expect us to stay and complete the work of the American people. The American people expect Congress to work diligently to pass critical national priorities.
These serious national priorities, especially funding our nation’s military and safely getting children back to school are too important to postpone. I ask that you keep the House in session to finish the business of the American people. Furthermore, I ask that you urge the Senate to remain in Washington until the appropriations process and other key pieces of legislation are complete.