House Democrats have nixed their annual policy retreat because negotiations on a budget framework and immigration proposals have hit a critical juncture and party officials wanted to avoid the appearance of leaving town for a resort on Maryland’s Eastern Shore while those key issues entered the final phase of talks.
Instead, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s caucus will hold its breakout sessions and meetings inside the Capitol complex, allowing the California Democrat to sneak away to any key bipartisan talks at the leadership level.
“Given the pressing issues Congress will likely vote on over the next three days, House Democrats will hold their ‘United for A Better Tomorrow Issues Conference’ at the U.S. Capitol. Scheduling updates will be shared as soon as they are available,” Lauren French, spokeswoman for the House Democratic Caucus, said in a statement Tuesday evening.
The annual retreat is a big event for each party — Republicans held their three-day event at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia last week — and canceling the reservation for several hundred lawmakers, family and staff comes at a heavy price. Democrats were slated to spend Wednesday through Friday at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, Md.
Former vice president Joe Biden is slated to deliver the keynote speech Wednesday afternoon to Democrats. Already holding events in Washington on Tuesday and Thursday, Biden will still be able to speak to the caucus.
Other speakers include former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe and former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., who is leading an effort to win back state legislatures so Democrats can have a strong hand in drawing congressional districts for the next decade.