Ken Buck joins Republican colleagues urging leadership to cancel August recess

Author: Peter Marcus - June 30, 2017 - Updated: July 1, 2017

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, talks about his new book "Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think," which publishes this week, at a book-launch event on Monday, April 10, 2017, at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
Ken Buck talks about his recently published book “Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think,” on Monday, April 10, 2017, at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley on Friday joined a group of GOP lawmakers urging House leadership to cancel the August recess unless lawmakers can tackle the party’s legislative agenda.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the 12 Republican lawmakers said there should be no recess unless Congress addresses a list of issues, including completing the annual budget, the appropriations process and overhauling the tax code.

“If we can’t get our work done, we shouldn’t be going on recess,” Buck said in a statement. “Leaving for August recess before we’ve completed our appropriations bills and tax reform will fail to boost our economy and imperil the people’s trust in Republican governance.”

The names of the lawmakers who signed the letter to Ryan include members who have identified themselves or who have been identified by others as members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, including Buck.

“During the 2016 elections, President Trump and Republican candidates running for the House and Senate promised the American people that with unified Republican government we could achieve many of the policy priorities that have been mere wishes for the last several years,” the letter states. “We vowed to repeal Obamacare, pass pro-growth tax reform, reign in federal spending, and work towards balancing the budget. The American people put their faith in us and are counting on us to carry out these goals.”

The letter also lists reviewing the federal debt limit and reauthorizing a number of federal programs, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the National Flood Insurance Program and a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

“Our constituents expect us to work hard and will be disappointed if we shut down for four to five weeks when we could move our agenda forward,” the letter states.

Meanwhile, 10 Republican senators also sent a letter on Friday to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asking him to cancel the summer break unless lawmakers accomplish a similar list of legislative priorities.

“We respectfully request that you consider truncating, if not completely foregoing, the scheduled August state work period, allowing us more time to complete our work,” the Republican senators wrote.

The letter points to health care reform, funding the government, dealing with the debt ceiling, passing a budget resolution and what it refers to as improving the nation’s tax code as looming issues that should be addressed before the Senate takes time off.

“Our current Senate calendar shows only 33 potential working days remaining before the end of the fiscal year,” the senators say in the letter. “This does not appear to give us enough time to adequately address the issues that demand immediate attention.”

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus is senior statehouse reporter for Colorado Politics. He covers the legislature and previously covered politics, the governor’s office, the legislature and Congress for The Durango Herald. He joined The Herald in 2014 from The Colorado Statesman, a Denver-based political weekly. The Washington Post twice named Marcus one of the nation’s top state-based political and legislative reporters.