Capitol Hill has lost many of its usual residents as lawmakers abandon Washington, D.C., for their summer vacations. In response, White House press secretary Josh Earnest fired at Republicans for “skipping town” early.
"I do hope that Republicans will just rest and relax during their 39-day vacation, because when they do finally show up again in September, there won't be a lot of patience or a lot of sympathy that they don't have time to do their job," Earnest said at the daily White House briefing on July 30, CNN reported.
The House of Representatives did, in fact, adjourn one day early.
Earnest went on to say that the so-called “August Work Period” is a misnomer. "The description of the 'August Work Period' is the best of both worlds, because it extends beyond August and they're not actually working," he said.
Lawmakers do have a lot of work waiting for them when they return from their five-week vacation. Not only will they have to vote on the nuclear deal with Iran, they’ll have to decided whether or not to raise the federal debt limit — an issue which has nearly forced a government shutdown in the past. Other issues on the table also include deals with the Federal Aviation Administration and legislation dealing with transportation, child nutrition standards and pipeline safety, U.S. News and World Report noted.
"If you take a look at all of the things on the list, it'll be a lot of traffic going through one toll booth," said Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming.
Despite the workload, a spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner voiced his displeasure with Earnest’s comments. "Our members will be home in their districts, helping their constituents and listening to their opinions on the big issues facing the country,” said Cory Fritz.