Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cancelled the traditional August recess following repeated calls from conservative senators to stay in Washington to pass a budget and confirm dozens of President Donald Trump’s nominees.
“Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the [Sept. 30] end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled,” McConnell, R-Ky., said in a written statement Tuesday.
“Senators should expect to remain in session in August to pass legislation, including appropriations bills,” he said, “and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees.”
McConnell said lawmakers can expect to return home for a state work period during the first full week in August, then return for the remainder of the month.
My statement on cancelling the August recess: pic.twitter.com/yyAEUSMVQW
— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) June 5, 2018
On May 10, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., released a letter with 15 other senators asking McConnell for the Senate to work Mondays and Fridays, plus nights and weekends, to confirm Trump’s judicial and executive nominees and fund the government before the Sept. 30 deadline.
Perdue praised McConnell’s cancellation of the recess.
“Senate Republicans have accomplished a great deal this year, but more needs to be done,” Perdue said in a prepared statement. “That’s why it is encouraging that Leader McConnell took our concerns into consideration. We still have 271 nominations to confirm, and we must complete the appropriations process before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.”
It is important to remember that simply canceling the August state work period is not the goal. We should be working nights & weekends now to get the results the American people sent us here to deliver. #MakeCongressWorkAgain
— David Perdue (@sendavidperdue) June 5, 2018
Earlier Tuesday, Perdue’s office hosted a press event where multiple senators spoke to news outlets about the importance of canceling the recess.
“We have got a historic opportunity here,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told The Daily Signal at the event. “It is rare to have unified Republican control of the federal government. In the last hundred years, that has only happened four times. Since World War II, we have had a total of eight years with a Republican president and majorities in both houses. We can’t waste this opportunity.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, told The Daily Signal that he wants to work over the August recess to avoid pushing through a last-minute omnibus spending bill, as lawmakers did March 23. Trump threatened to veto that package before ultimately signing it into law and vowing not to do so again.
“This will continue as long as it can continue,” Lee said, adding:
It worked really well for the small handful of people who were involved in the process. But it’s bad, not just bad for everyone else in Congress, but in America. That is why our objective here is to get Congress working on this now, so we don’t have to pass a spending bill at the very last minute.
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said that cancelling the recess could help address Democrat obstruction.
“It is absolutely outrageous the amount of obstruction that is going on in the U.S. Senate with [Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer and the Democrats,” Daines said. “And that is why we want to keep everybody here, keep them working. The most precious commodity we have in the U.S. Senate is time; keep the clock running.”
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., told The Daily Signal that staying in Washington comes at necessary cost.
“I enjoy getting out of Washington, D.C., and returning to America. I am a lot more comfortable with the people of Louisiana than I am with the Washington cartel, but I was sent up here to do a job. And in Louisiana, we understand that good things come to those who work their a– off,” Kennedy said, adding:
We have had a lot of accomplishments, from the tax cuts [and Supreme Court Justice] Neil Gorsuch to deregulation, but we have got a lot more to do. And we are not going to get it done at the pace we are going right now.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said scrubbing the recess is about getting results.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about adding more work hours, it’s about getting work actually done. That’s the main focus,” Lankford said.
The people of #Oklahoma sent me to Congress to get work done. Let me tell why Mitch McConnell’s cancellation of the August recess is good news.
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) June 5, 2018