- About 20 GOP lawmakers are reportedly planning to return to DC next week, even though Congress is in an extended recess until May 4, Politico reported.
- “If you can’t say Congress is working at the urgency that our people need right now, then we need to return immediately,” Florida Rep. Brian Mast, who is organizing the Republican effort, told Politico.
- Rep. Brian Mast, who initiated the talks by texting and emailing other Republican lawmakers, sent a tweet to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday, telling her to “DO [her] DAMN JOB.”
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Roughly 20 GOP lawmakers are reportedly eyeing a return to work next week as the Capitol remains closed until next month, according to a Friday report from Politico.
The lawmakers are reportedly frustrated that they are unable to work on legislation while workers deemed essential like those in the medical field, restaurants, and grocery stores are continuing to leave their homes for work amid the pandemic.
“Members want to come back and make it clear they’re at work,” an unidentified Republican lawmaker included in the discussions about returning to work told Politico. “Why are we sitting here at home and reading about what’s going on?”
The effort reportedly began when Florida Rep. Brian Mast earlier this week began sending text messages and emails to fellow GOP members of Congress to express his desire to return back to DC on Monday, according to the report.
“I don’t deny there are risks as members of Congress in going there. But that’s what doing your duty is: There are risks, but you get the job done anyway,” Mast told Politico “If you can’t say Congress is working at the urgency that our people need right now, then we need to return immediately.”
In a tweet sent Saturday, Mast called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, to open Congress so it could vote on legislation to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
“DO YOUR DAMN JOB!” Mast tweeted.
—Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) April 18, 2020
Mast said he has received positive responses from his fellow Republicans.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Politico he was aware of his party member’s calls to return to work.
“The challenge is, the speaker has some power over the Capitol, on what’s open and what’s not. So I want to make sure it’s safe, whatever we do. But I think House Republicans are ready to come back to work,” McCarthy, a California Republican, told Politico.
On April 13, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, announced members of the House would not be expected to return to DC until May 4, barring an emergency vote. He said lawmakers would be given “sufficient notice” if they were needed back sooner to vote on any legislation related to the coronavirus, CNBC reported.
Leaders in the Republican-controlled Senate had also decided to extend their recess until May 4, which marked a two-week extension.
“As the country continues working together to flatten the curve, following the advice of health experts, the full Senate is not expected to travel back to Washington D.C. sooner than Monday, May 4th,” McConnell said April 14.
The GOP effort comes amid President Trump’s call on three states — Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia — to “LIBERATE” from lockdown orders. In those states, residents have turned out in violation of state-ordered social distancing to protest the stay-at-home orders issued by state governors.
Health experts have warned that the relaxation of social distancing policies that prohibit groups and keep people at home, could lead to a “second wave” of COVID-19 cases. On Thursday, the White House released its three-phase plan to relax some of those social distancing guidelines.
On Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington on Saturday accused Trump of encouraging a “domestic rebellion.” The president’s Friday tweets were interpreted by some of his far-right supporters that he supported an armed insurrection, NBC News reported.