Rangel: Bring Congress Back

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    A prominent liberal House Democrat is calling on President Barack Obama to bring Congress back from its August recess, joining a growing list asking the president to put lawmakers to work now to fix the economy.

    “There’s no question in my mind” that lawmakers need to return to Washington, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said on MSNBC on Tuesday.

    “The president should call us back and to recognize that as important as reelections are in the House and the Senate, the integrity of our country is far more important,” he said. “Just him bringing us together, saying that we are going to work to get jobs for the people and training for people.”

    While skeptics are arguing that Congress won’t get anything done if it comes back from its vacation, Rangel said that the very fact that there’s skepticism underscores why his colleagues need to return to Washington before the end of the summer.

    “If there’s no hope that we can do it, we’ve got to change our way of thinking about our country. Our country is not Obama, is not Pelosi, is not Boehner. It is a country with hope and vision,” Rangel said.

    “We are the actors, the tools, that are supposed to present us as to what people are proud of, and when you lose confidence, you can’t buy it, you can’t elect it. Confidence is something that you feel.”

    Making progress on efforts to cut costs and revenues would “give so much hope to people who have been without work for months and for some years,” he said.

    Rangel joins a growing chorus that wants to see Congress return, including presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

    White House press secretary Jay Carney ducked multiple questions Monday afternoon about whether the president would call Congress back.

    “I think there is … a great sense of urgency here about the need to continue to work to get our fiscal house in order, create jobs and grow the economy,” Carney said. “The reality that we live in is that this is — as set up by the founders — is a government that has different branches with different amounts of power, and we need to work together to get significant things done, and we’ll continue to do that.”

    Tuesday’s briefing, along with a presidential trip to Northern Virginia to talk about fuel efficiency standards, were canceled just before 9 a.m. ET. Obama is, though, meeting privately with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and business leaders.

    At this point, Rangel said, Americans want reassurance that the president and lawmakers are taking action. “People don’t want to know how we got there, they want to know how the heck we’re going to get out of it,” he said. “The country’s more important than who wins and who loses.”