If the Freedom Caucus isn't bluffing, and the House GOP conference really is approaching a consensus on healthcare reform, then it's time to cut the two-week Easter recess short and return to Capitol Hill next Monday.
It'd be the legislative equivalent of a Hail Mary: dangerous, risky, and more than a little desperate. But if executed with message discipline and full commitment from the Trump administration, the White House could turn around the president's first 100 days.
Normally this proposal would sound like jumping the shark. After months of infighting and self-inflicted gridlock though, Rep. Mark Meadows', R-N.C., suggestion of an abbreviated recess is one of the last reasons for hope. The Freedom Caucus chairman said he's "optimistic" that the disparate factions inside the Republican party could come to an agreement. That should be welcome news inside a party in disarray.
Not long ago Vice President Mike Pence was telling Republicans to "buckle up" in preparation for the breakneck pace of legislating. Cutting recess short and calling Congress back into session could recapture that spirit. Sure there'd be risks but the chance to reboot the Trump administration should tantalize the lethargic rank-and-file.
So far gridlock has come from two camps: the anti-establishment and conservative Freedom Caucus and the centrist Tuesday Group. Any compromise that Meadows and his conservative cohorts find acceptable would of course ruffle feathers. Plucking lawmakers out of their districts and bringing them back to the Beltway early could break the bluffs of those wayward members.
It's drastic, dangerous, and it also just might work. That's the gamble at least. Betting correctly could lead to an influx of political capital at the exact moment Trump needs it most. With as poorly as things are going now, why not take a shot?
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.