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Democrats call for House leadership to cancel recess and focus on impeachment

An increasing number of Democrats are calling on House leadership to cancel recess to allow Congress to move full steam ahead on the impeachment inquiry. 

Members of the lower chamber are scheduled to fly out for a two-week break following votes on Friday, but a growing number of progressive members and Democratic presidential candidates argue now is not the time to leave Washington. 

“Congress is about to leave for a two-week recess — we should not do that. We need to stay in Washington to work for the American people,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), first vice-chairman of the House Progressive Caucus, said in a video posted to social media.

“The stakes are so high — we have just announced an impeachment inquiry against the president. The president has admitted that he sought dirt about a political rival from a foreign power. We need to do the work to hold this president accountable and we need to do something about gun violence,” Khanna said.

Freshman firebrand Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) echoed Khanna’s calls, alleging the president is making a “mockery of our Constitution.” 

“Trump clearly sees the Oval Office as his campaign office. We cannot let the occupant make a mockery of our Constitution any longer. Congress must cancel the upcoming recess so we can finally impeach this president,” Omar tweeted

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and former Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, both of whom are running for the Democratic presidential nomination, agreed with those calls, saying they believe Congress needs to begin impeachment proceedings immediately.

“The House should cancel its break and start impeachment proceedings now. As the whistleblower made clear: Every day Trump is in office, our democracy is less safe. We can’t wait to act,” O’Rourke tweeted.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday there are no plans to cancel the break, making the case that members need to discuss the decision to move forward with their constituents. 

“I do not expect to cancel the break. For one reason, I think it is very important that members go home to their constituents and explain what they are thinking. Seven of them did it in an op-ed. All of our members need to do it to their constituents,” he told reporters. “This is a matter of grave importance, and the American people need to understand what is occurring. We think that’s very, very important.”

The push comes just days after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her support of moving forward with a formal impeachment inquiry. The move followed allegations Trump pushed the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son and threatened to withhold military aid.

Democrats argue the president was abusing his power for political gain. Republicans have largely been quick to defend the president, saying the Democrats’ impeachment push is based on baseless accusations and there is no evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. 

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said if Pelosi was serious about impeachment she would not allow the House to recess. 

“If Nancy Pelosi really did believe that the president of the United States should be impeached, which she’s alleging — would you leave town for two weeks in the middle of that kind of accusation?” he told reporters Thursday.  

“Seriously, would you say, ‘OK, if you think the president United States should be impeached’ and then a few days after that you leave town for two weeks? Wouldn’t you be calling Congress back? Pushing this investigation forward so you can bring those claims to the floor, whatever those are which still haven’t been named? Not one single high crime and misdemeanor has been named. If you’re going to impeach a president, shouldn’t you at least name what that claim is,” he said.

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