An even better way to put it might be that the folks back home have made clear they’re fed up with Congress’s breath-taking incompetence.
“Confidence in Congress, whether it is a Democrat or Republican led Congress is at an all time low,” said Meadows. “People believe that it doesn’t matter which party is in power. It doesn’t matter who is in control. They don’t expect a whole lot to get done.”
Meadows is correct that voters don’t have much faith in Congress regardless of which party holds the reins. But the more pressing question for lawmakers is who gets blamed for the freak show. Let’s just say that, with the GOP controlling both chambers and the White House, its members are looking particularly twitchy these days.
You know who else is fed up with congressional failure? Donald Trump. Indeed, according to one Hill conservative who preferred to remain nameless, the president and his peeps are all for keeping lawmakers in town until they actually pass some major legislation. Or in official Congress-speak: “Conversations with senior administration officials would indicate a very supportive position of staying and accomplishing the president’s agenda.”
Trump may have been itching to waterboard Freedom Caucusers when they were screwing up his Obamacare plans back in March. But in this instance, he sees them as on the side of the angels—i.e., his side.
As much as it pains me, I have to agree with Trump on this one. With the congressional plate even fuller than usual—and nothing moving fast, if at all—why should lawmakers trundle off to the beach or the mountains or their cozy beds back home? Recess is for closers. Everybody else needs to suck it up and stay late until the work gets done.
And don’t blather to me about how the time members spend back in the district talking with real constituents is even more important than time spent in the Washington cesspool. That may be true in general, but being a functioning grown-up means figuring out how to prioritize. And when confronting a crazy number of mind-numbingly difficult policy issues to address in a short amount of time, says Meadows, “all of us [should] answer the question, ‘Is the best use of our time going back to the district for the month of August?’ ”
For many Democrats, the answer might well be yes. But for the ruling party? Not so much.
“It’s incumbent upon us break the mold and start to rebuild trust,” insisted Meadows. “What better way to do it than to, say, break the norm of going home for five weeks in August and the first part of September and actually work into the wee hours of the morning until we get things done?”
To this end, Meadows & Co. would like to see “a very definitive statement that says we’re going to accomplish x, y, and z before we leave in July or before we leave period.”
Is he optimistic this will happen? Of course not. The man’s not delusional. “I haven’t heard a whole lot of support coming from leadership,” he acknowledged.