Kirsten Gillibrand has become the first US Senator to formally call on the House of Representatives to return from their August recess and pass the state fiscal aid bill, which will officially get through the Senate by tomorrow night at the latest. In a statement, Gillibrand stresses the importance of getting the money into the hands of state Medicaid and education budgets quickly.
“This funding is so important to communities in New York and across the country. I think the right thing to do would be for members of the House to briefly return to Washington so that we can send the legislation to President Obama immediately and deliver assistance to local schools and hospitals right away,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Today we overcame obstruction and delivered for New York. I want to thank Majority Leader Reid for his commitment and Senators Snowe and Collins for putting people above partisanship.”
It takes a certain amount of chutzpah for the Senate to demand that the House move expeditiously on a piece of legislation, considering that there are between 300 and 400 House bills sitting in the Senate without movement. Nevertheless, the states do have a need to fill their budget gaps, and the House could return for one week to take care of this business without much trouble. And the optics of returning to work to provide for the needs of the nation aren’t bad, either.
House leaders have so far said nothing about the idea.
UPDATE: Olympia Snowe, who voted against this kind of state aid when the House was in session, has joined Gillibrand in calling on the House to return for final passage. That’s even more chutzpah than I thought possible.
Snowe said she voted for the bill even though she is troubled that the House left town last Friday for a six-week August recess.
“Why is the House not coming back today to do this?” she asked. “I voted for it now because I think it’s important. But obviously the majority doesn’t think it’s important enough to have the House here to finish it up.”
UPDATE II: Roll Call is now reporting that the House will probably come back into session to pass the state fiscal aid bill. More when I have it.
…more from CQ. I’m betting this happens now.