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Letter to Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader - Keep Senate in Session Through August

Rigell Leads 27 Other GOP New Members in Asking Harry Reid to Keep the Senate in Session Until It Funds the Government

Washington, July 13 -- Today Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-2) led an effort with 27 other new members of the House of Representatives urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to keep the Senate in session through August so it may pass a budget and complete the appropriations bills sent over from the House.

The letter said:

"We are deeply concerned with the lack of progress in the Senate. As Majority Leader, you have not brought any of the appropriations bills passed by the House this year up for consideration. While the House is on track to complete all 12 appropriations bills prior to the start of the fiscal year, the Senate has failed to produce a budget or consider these appropriations bills, which will inevitably result in yet another Continuing Resolution-- perhaps even the threat of a government shutdown that we experienced earlier this year. Given that pervasive uncertainty is holding back job creation, we believe a change in your summer calendar is necessary."

Rigell said, "Washington is rightly focused on the debt limit, but we need to be mindful that the Senate has not passed a budget in more than 800 days. We're on track to face another continuing resolution situation, and that cannot happen."

Full text of the letter is below:

July 13, 2011

Majority Leader Harry Reid
S-221, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Leader Reid:

As the House of Representatives works through the Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2012, we are encouraged by the progress that the House has made -- both in the Appropriations Committee and on the House floor. Unlike the 111th Congress, we have fulfilled our constitutional responsibilities by passing a budget, one that reduces spending, creates jobs, reins in cost-driving programs, and ultimately eliminates the debt. We have shown our strong commitment to set the nation's course towards fiscal stability, and to do so in a responsible time frame.

Yet, as we look ahead, we are deeply concerned with the lack of progress in the Senate. As Majority Leader, you have not brought any of the appropriations bills passed by the House this year up for consideration. While the House is on track to complete all 12 appropriations bills prior to the start of the fiscal year, the Senate has failed to produce a budget or consider these appropriations bills, which will inevitably result in yet another Continuing Resolution-- perhaps even the threat of a government shutdown that we experienced earlier this year. Given that pervasive uncertainty is holding back job creation, we believe a change in your summer calendar is necessary.

As it stands now, the Senate will recess during the month of August and reconvene on September 6 - just over three weeks before the fiscal year begins. At the pace the Senate is progressing, this is not nearly enough time for Congress to consider and, ideally, pass the bills prior to the start of the fiscal year. Therefore, we ask that you keep the Senate in session throughout August so that you can pass a budget and complete the pending appropriations bills sent to you from the House. We stand ready to stay in session if necessary.

While being with constituents is absolutely essential to providing effective representation, the profound fiscal challenges facing our country call for timely, decisive action. The roadblock is clearly the Senate. We encourage you to keep the Senate in session in August, which would show that the Senate schedule reflects the challenges facing our country. It would also be a clear, and we believe, welcomed signal to the American people that the nation's leaders are wisely leading America to a stronger fiscal path.

Sincerely,

Rep. Scott Rigell
Rep. Reid Ribble
Rep. Justin Amash
Rep. Larry Bucshon
Rep. Scott DesJarlais
Rep. Jeff Duncan
Rep. Renee L. Ellmers
Rep. Blake Farenthold
Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick
Rep. Tim Griffin
Rep. Tim Huelskamp
Rep. Bill Huizenga
Rep. Randy Hultgren
Rep. Mike Kelly
Rep. James Lankford
Rep. Billy Long
Rep. Mick Mulvaney
Rep. Mike Pompeo
Rep. Todd Rokita
Rep. Austin Scott
Rep. Tim Scott
Rep. Steve Stivers
Rep. Paul Gosar
Rep. Tim Walberg
Rep. Joe Walsh
Rep. Allen B. West
Rep. Rob Woodall
Rep. Todd C. Young


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