House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced Friday that after next week, the House will stand in recess until November 13. His plan for a nearly two month vacation will undoubtedly allow more time for campaigning, but will leave several vital bills awaiting action.
Among the important legislation the House will likely not address before the November elections:
1. Violence Against Women Act re-authorization. Though a bipartisan Senate majority passed the a strong re-authorization bill in April, the Republican House leadership refused to allow a vote on the Senate version of the bill. The House passed a watered down version on a mostly-party lines vote, leaving victims to wait for House action.
2. The American Jobs Act. Republicans have been blocking President Obama’s jobs legislation for more than a year. Though House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) promised in 2010 that a GOP Congress would focus on job creation, he has blocked this bill’s immediate infrastructure investments, tax credits for working Americans and employers, and aid to state and local governments to prevent further layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public safety officials.
3. Tax cuts for working families. In July, the Senate passed a bill extending tax-cuts for the first $250,000 in annual income. The Republican House leadership has refused to consider the bill, holding it hostage to their demands for a full extension of Bush-era tax cuts for millionaires.
4. Veterans Job Corps Act. The Senate is currently considering bipartisan legislation to help America’s veterans find jobs. The Air Force Times reports that the Republican House has “shown no interest” in the legislation to support those who served the country.
5. Sequestration. A spokesman for Boehner said earlier this week that stopping budget cuts he voted for last August “topped our July agenda and remains atop our agenda for September.” While House Republicans have complained about the imminent spending reductions and passed a bill that would require President Obama to find offsets for spending cuts they don’t like, Republican Leader Canter could not name a single compromise he was willing to make to get a deal.
6. Farm Bill. Despite strong support for a 5-year farm bill from even conservative groups like the Farm Bureau Association — the House leadership has not scheduled a vote on the bill. The current law expires September 30. Without passage, 90 percent of the work of the Department of Agriculture could be defunded.
7. Wind tax credit. The Senate may act next week to renew an expiring wind energy tax credit. Despite bipartisan support — including from original author Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Examiner notes that the House is unlikely to pass the renewal. Despite GOP calls for energy independence, the expiration has threatened the wind energy industry and already led to job cuts.
These, in addition to drought assistance, postal service reform, addressing the Estate Tax, cybersecurity legislation, fixes for Medicare reimbursement rates and the Alternative Minimum Tax, and all 12 of the FY 2013 Appropriations Bills remain unaddressed.
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Four years ago, Republicans objected when then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) adjourned Congress for a five-week August recess without bringing up their energy legislation. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) shouted “Madame Speaker, where art thou? Where oh where has Congress gone?” Now, they plan a two month vacation, even if it means allowing vital programs to expire and working families to suffer.