House To Stay In DC Amid Shutdown Uncertainty

Some Republican lawmakers tell TPM they'd prefer to leave town and put the onus on the Senate to prevent a shutdown.
on January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee/Getty Images North America

House members who would usually be well on their way back to their home districts by Friday afternoon have been instructed to stay in DC amid ongoing uncertainty about a government shutdown. With the ball currently in the Senate’s court after the House passed a one-month funding bill Thursday night, some House Republicans are grumbling that they should skip town to put pressure on the Senate to act, while others say it would look bad to leave DC with a shutdown looming.

“We’re going home today. I’m going home in two hours. I booked this flight three months ago. But I can come back with six hours’ notice,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) told reporters. “There’s nothing the House can do in that kind of short order.”

“If Schumer does shut the government down, I can’t tell if it’s a one-day shutdown or a one-month shutdown,” he added, trying to put the blame squarely on Democrats.

Despite the frustration among members about waiting around for the Senate, several members resigned themselves to the need to stay.

Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), the chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told reporters that he would clear his schedule a few hours at a time as he waits for the Senate to act. Asked if he will stick around in Washington, D.C. for as long as it takes, he said, “Whatever we need to do to do our job, but at some point if the Democrats can’t deliver on what they’re supposed to do, I don’t know what else we can do.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, also said that staying was a wise choice, and said that he will skip his planned visit to the Davos forum if the government does shut down.

“At this point, the American people want us to deal with this issue. Some will go home. Some will travel. I think at this point we have to get this resolved, and to suggest that we leave Washington, D.C. before we deal with this issue to make sure that we keep the government open, would be inappropriate,” he told reporters.

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