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The steps to the House of Representatives. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As members of the House fly home Friday for an extra-long August recess, they leave knowing they’ll almost certainly have their break cut short.

Why it matters: Despite the threat of a spreading Delta variant, riveting testimony about the Jan. 6 insurrection and debate over an infrastructure bill that will affect roads and bridges coast to coast, lawmakers are currently scheduled to be away from Washington until mid-September.

  • "The fact that we take six weeks away from here in light of the circumstance that we face now as a country — both domestically and abroad — it is absurd," Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) told Axios.
  • Phillips said: "I think we should be here regularly during the August recess, even absent an infrastructure challenge or COVID challenge or Jan. 6."

Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) pushed back on the notion that taking a lengthy August recess is bad optics for members.

  • "It's actually an opportunity to go back to our districts and encourage people to get vaccinated, with the rise of the Delta variant," she said.
  • "The American people should know that when we are in our districts, we're working for them," Barragán said.

Members are currently playing a waiting game, and they expect they'll return as soon as the Senate passes an infrastructure deal. Their schedule likely won't be updated until that happens.

  • Another possibility is calling the House back in late August, per a House leadership aide, cutting the district work period regardless of the circumstance.
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) set the expectation early in July, writing in a “Dear Colleague” letter that members will be provided “sufficient notice” of any changes in the schedule.
  • In his own letter to senators, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) predicted “long nights, weekends, and remaining in Washington” into August to pass major legislation.
  • Hoyer said, "The House will do what it needs in order to accomplish the same."

Go deeper: Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who chairs the select committee investing the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, told reporters the panel could have another hearing in August.

Go deeper

Jan. 6 panel hires former Bush administration official as top legal adviser

Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) at a press conference with the Jan. 6 select committee. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has hired John F. Wood, a former U.S. attorney and a member of the George W. Bush administration, as its top legal adviser.

Why it matters: The decision is part of a continued effort to make the committee nonpartisan and follows the elevation of Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney to serve as vice chairwoman on the panel.

UN chief urges U.S. and China to fix "dysfunctional relationship"

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a Sept. 13 press conference in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / Coffini/AFP via Getty Images

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres raised concerns in an interview with AP, published Monday, of another Cold War between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Guterres made the comments ahead of this week's UN General Assembly in New York. Guterres told AP the U.S.-U.K. deal to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia "is just one small piece of a more complex puzzle ... this completely dysfunctional relationship between China and the United States."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

FBI says human remains found in Wyoming likely Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito. Photo: FBI

Human remains found in Teton County, Wyoming, are "consistent with the description of" missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito, FBI Denver official Charles Jones said at a news conference Sunday.

Details: The cause of death had yet to be determined, but Jones said: "Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery." Authorities said they're continuing the search for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.

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