South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan lunches with Vice President Mike Pence on Venezuela response

Charleston Post & Courier By Emma Dumain

WASHINGTON — While most members of Congress are back in their districts for the August recess, U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan returned to Washington for the day to talk Venezuela policy at the White House.

The Laurens Republican and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere was invited to join Vice President Mike Pence for lunch Tuesday, along with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J.

Venezuela is experiencing a significant political crisis. The United States has been critical of what it has dubbed a flawed national election in Venezuela to change the constitution, an election pushed by leftist President Nicolas Maduro.

"I am grateful that the Trump administration is soliciting input on these matters from Congressional leaders," Duncan said in a statement.

He added, "I applaud the administration for its continued actions to pressure the Venezuelan dictatorship and am encouraged by the courageous steps being taken by international partners in support of democracy and the people of Venezuela."

Sires is the Democratic counterpart on the House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, while Rubio is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.