Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s canceling all but a week of the Senate’s traditional August recess, pointing to Democrat obstruction and the need to pass spending bills, Fox News reported.
“Senators should expect to remain in session in August to pass legislation, including appropriations bills, and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees,” McConnell announced in a statement Tuesday.
“Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled,” he continued.
McConnell’s announcement comes after weeks of pressure from a number of Senate Republicans to keep members in session for the same reasons McConnell cited in his announcement.
“This is the only (job) that you can neglect some of your most basic duties and then take a month-long vacation,” Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said. “We should be working nights, weekends, and August, and any other state work period to pass appropriations bills and get our work done in a timely manner.”
In May, sixteen GOP senators sent a letter to McConnell, urging him to cancel the August recess in order to confront Democrats’ delaying tactics.
“We want to offer our full support to expedite floor consideration, even if we must work nights and weekends and forgo the August recess to get it done,” the letter to McConnell read, noting the need to pass 12 appropriations bills in 12 weeks.
“That alone is an impossible task,” they said. “When combined w/ the crucial need to confirm more nominees, it is clear we do not have enough time.
“Many of us encouraged cancelling August recess last year to meet our legislative goals. As a result, the Senate confirmed 77 nominations with no floor debate, a significant concession from the minority party. Our diligence was rewarded with reason, and it can happen again,” the letter added.
Trump also urged the Senate to remain in session, in May tweeting that the “Senate should get funding done before the August break, or NOT GO HOME.”
“Also waiting for approval of almost 300 nominations, worst in history,” he added.
As noted by Fox News, this is a controversial decision from McConnell as it keeps senators in both parties in session during the runup to November’s midterm election.
“Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. and others are considered vulnerable this election cycle, and could suffer from time off the campaign trail,” Fox News reported.
According to Politico, the Senate may be able to restore some of the recess “if the two leaders and their caucuses can cooperate on spending bills, nominees and other legislation like the annual defense authorization bill and a water infrastructure bill.”
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