What They’re Saying: Dysfunctional Republican Senate Leaves for Seven-Week Vacation With Long List of Unfinished Business

Associated Press – On Capitol Hill Dysfunction Reigns, GOP Leaders Fall Short

In an election year featuring loud demands for change, Congress and its Republican leaders have delivered more of the same. More of the partisanship and dysfunction that have kept congressional approval ratings at 20 percent or below for years. More of the inability to accomplish even the most basic work, the must-pass spending bills to keep the government running. More failure to legislate on pressing issues like guns, or even respond to a public health emergency, the Zika virus. As lawmakers head out of Washington for a seven-week summer recess, members of both parties expressed frustration with the state of affairs. And for House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, both relatively new to their jobs, Congress’ record this year falls short of their own goals while offering more evidence for Donald Trump’s claim that “Washington is broken.”

New York Times – Congress Recesses, Leaving More Stalemates Than Accomplishments

Congress limped out of town Thursday for a seven-week recess, leaving behind a trail of partisan fights, a failed bill to help fight the Zika virus, a stalemate on gun safety and a few mundane accomplishments that members hoped to sell as awesome to voters in an unsparing mood… By day’s end, a plan to aid the fight against the mosquito-borne Zika virus, a measure to prevent terrorists from getting guns, scores of judicial confirmations, a sweeping bipartisan criminal justice reform package and basic appropriations bills were left scattered about like errant wrappers from the Senate candy drawer. Most notably, Republicans and Democrats failed to come together to approve money to combat Zika, despite widespread agreement that the virus, which can cause serious birth defects, was a public health emergency. The measure failed after House Republicans refused to accept a bipartisan compromise reached in the Senate, and instead inserted clauses that reignited old disputes over government financing for Planned Parenthood.

Politico – Congress Takes 7-Week Vacation With Little To Show For It

The fight to combat Zika won’t get another penny from Congress. Lawmakers still have no plan to fund the government. And the gun violence convulsing the nation? Don’t look to Capitol Hill for a solution Lawmakers are blowing town on Thursday for a seven-week summer break — leaving behind a stack of unfinished legislative business jammed up in partisan gridlock.

Huffington Post – Congress Will Go The Rest Of The Summer Without Passing Anything On Zika

The political conventions, followed by a long summer break, proved a higher priority for Congress on Thursday than funding the nation’s response to Zika, as the Senate failed again to pass legislation dealing with the mosquito-borne illness. With Congress leaving this week to pick presidential candidates, and then staying on recess until after Labor Day, the rest of the summer will pass before there’s another chance for lawmakers to fund the efforts to prevent Zika from becoming an epidemic in the United States.

Associated Press – Congress leaves Washington, its dysfunction on display

Congress exited a sweltering Washington on Thursday, its dysfunction on full display as it left behind must-do legislation to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus and a stalemate over lawmakers’ basic job of fulfilling agency budgets. The twin failures highlighted the one step forward, two steps back nature of the bitterly-divided Congress, even as Senate Majority Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan trumpeted victories on drug abuse legislation and other, more modest bills. But a continuing impasse over the Pentagon budget sent McConnell’s effort to revive the process for advancing annual spending bills off the rails. When lawmakers return from their vacation after Labor Day, a stopgap funding bill that’s needed to prevent a government shutdown will be the main order of business before Congress recesses again for the fall campaign. Calls by Democrats for modest curbs on guns sales went unheeded as lawmakers embarked on a seven-week vacation extended by the national political conventions this month.

Washington Post – Congress skips town with a long list of unfinished business

Congress started the month with a long to-do list, but it left town Thursday for seven weeks with most of it unfinished. The House and Senate on Thursday wrapped up business for the summer without finalizing legislation to combat the Zika virus, addressing the recent string of gun violence or making significant progress toward completing this year’s budget work.

Wall Street Journal – The Top Three Things Congress Couldn’t Get Done This Year

The House and Senate wrapped up their work Thursday as Congress prepared for a seven-week recess spanning both parties’ conventions and its traditional August break. … But there was a lot Congress didn’t do, including what Republican leaders of the GOP-controlled Congress said was their top priority: keeping the government funded well before the deadline rolls around.

ABC News – Congress Leaves for Summer Without Funding Fight Against Zika

Nearly five months since President Obama requested $1.9 billion from Congress to fight the Zika virus, lawmakers left Washington without passing much-needed funding to stop the spread of the disease and fund vaccine research.

Atlanta Journal Constitution – Zero new dollars for anti-Zika effort as Congress skips town for summer

Members of Congress left Washington today without striking a deal on how to combat the spread of the Zika virus. That means that federal agencies such as the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, will continue to slog through peak mosquito season without seeing a penny of new money until at least September.

E & E News – Congress Exits As September Workload Piles Up

Lawmakers decamped for their seven-week recess yesterday amid a growing pile of unfinished business that awaits them in September, which includes key energy and environment spending bills, a possible energy conference report, and measures to fight the Zika virus and address the lead crisis in Flint, Mich. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accused Republicans of leaving for their national convention in Cleveland next week with a long to-do list, including funding for Zika and Flint, plus proposed gun control legislation and criminal justice reform. “We’d like to stay here and work,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “I’d like to work for the people of Nevada and work for the rest of the American people. The Republicans, they’re not going to hear of this. They want to go. They want to go listen to Donald Trump,” Reid added.

Huffington Post – Sorry, Flint, Congress Has Nothing For You

Congress is set to adjourn for the summer without approving any of the big aid initiatives that had been discussed for Flint, Michigan.

Talking Points Memo –  Senate Leaves For Longest Recess In Recent History With Lots Of Work To Do

And they’re off. With spending bills left up in the air and a Zika funding bill still undone, the U.S. Senate left for a seven week summer recess Thursday, which according to Democratic aides is the longest since the Senate began taking them in the 1960s. The next votes won’t occur until September 6 when lawmakers will have to begin negotiating legislation to keep the government funded.

Reuters – U.S. Congress shrugs off guns, Zika as summer break nears

The U.S. Congress is headed for a seven-week recess without addressing gun violence, the Zika virus outbreak and other pressing issues, amid persistent election-year bickering…When Republicans took control of Congress, they vowed to get things done but have had difficulty doing so during this election year, failing to pass a budget or even consider Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.

STAT News – Senate still stuck on Zika, leaves funding unresolved until September

Yes, Congress really is leaving town without approving Zika funding. Again. And this time, they won’t be back for the rest of the summer. Caught up in a partisan squabble about Planned Parenthood, the Senate once again failed Thursday to advance a $1.1 billion package to fund the US response to the Zika virus. The measure fell short in a procedural vote, 52 to 44. It needed 60 votes to advance. With the Zika funding question still unresolved, Congress is leaving town for the Democratic and Republican presidential conventions and won’t return until September.

NY Daily News – Congress to take months-long recess with no action on gun control, fight against Zika

Congress is heading out on vacation at the end of this week without getting much done once again, failing to move any gun control and funding to combat the Zika virus. Both gun legislation and the funding for research into a Zika vaccine stalled in the House and Senate amid bitter partisan bickering, leaving Americans out of luck as the Republican-led House and Senate get ready to adjourn until September.

The Atlantic – A Threat Bigger Than Zika

The first death caused by Zika was recorded in the United States earlier this month. Yet when members of Congress embarked on a seven-week recess last week, they failed to resolve the question of whether to approve money to combat Zika.