Mitch McConnell cancels August recess for Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday the Senate will skip much of its treasured August recess to ...

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 9:57 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 9:57 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday the Senate will skip much of its treasured August recess to press ahead confirming the President's nominees and passing government spending bills.

The move follows months of frustration by GOP leaders -- and President Donald Trump -- over the countless Democratic filibusters that have dramatically slowed progress in the Senate.

"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," McConnell said in a statement. "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."

With the move, McConnell is pushing off a potentially costly conflict with Trump who wants the Senate to stay and work and isn't afraid to say it.

"It's totally out of fear of what Trump will do," said one Republican senator, speaking anonymously who warned a spat with Trump could hurt Republicans in the midterm elections.

"The only reason this is being considered, the only reason, is that leadership is fearful that Trump will blast the Senate if they're not in session and therefore hurt Republican chances," the senator said.

But many Republicans senators hailed the decision, saying they were willing to give up some of their downtime to catch up on the Senate's work.

"We have 278 nominees backed up now waiting for confirmation and we've got to get the government funded," said Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican and a leader of the effort to persuade McConnell to stay into August.

Perdue said he would like to avoid the "last-minute drama of a September 30 deadline" when lawmakers would have to choose between a government shutdown or voting for a giant and unwieldy omnibus spending bill.

McConnell's decision upset Democrats, many of whom are up for re-election and would rather be home campaigning.

"The fact that the Republicans have resorted to keeping Democrats off the campaign trail in August shows you just how nervous they are about November," a senior Senate Democratic aide told CNN.

Some Republicans also were not thrilled about being forced to stay into August, for the second year in a row.

"I don't know why they're talking about that," said Sen. Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican. "Because this Congress has been one of the most productive Congresses in many, many, many years and for those of us who are conservative, in my lifetime."

The dramatic move by McConnell comes a week before he hits a key Senate milestone, surpassing former Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas to become the longest serving Republican leader in the chamber's history. It reflects his careful navigation of the political forces around him that have allowed him to have many significant legislative wins over the years and to keep the job for so long.

Low-key and soft-spoken, McConnell is nevertheless determined and willing to take tough steps to achieve his political and legislative goals. He did that when he boldly blocked Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's choice for the Supreme Court, and worked to install Trump's pick Neil Gorsuch instead.

He's also patient and willing to doing the plodding groundwork needed for legislative victories, like the ones he's trying to set up this summer that he believes will give voters reasons to keep Republicans in control of the Senate. They include clearing a backlog of nominations and passing several lower-profile bills that McConnell says are evidence of good governing.

That pleases members of his conference, who elected him leader, and must do so again next year.

"I think it reflects his way to read the tea leaves. He has a good political sense," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, said prior to McConnell's official decision to stay in August. "I think anybody who looks at it realizes you have a readymade issue that somebody can make hay out of that would take up a lot of time."

"He's a terrific leader," said Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, an ally of McConnell's. "He's very intelligent. He pays attention to the rules. He's very good at the rules."

McConnell certainly has his critics. Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has been one of the few members of the GOP conference to publicly challenge McConnell.

"I've primarily been a critic of this place," Johnson told CNN. "I don't envy the (House speaker) or any leader around here. You are literally trying to herd cats."

But Johnson said there is a "real level of disgust" with some conservatives across the country because the GOP-led Senate hasn't carried out its promises.

"In general, what I hear from the conservative base in Wisconsin is, why aren't you guys supporting Trump? Where's the funding for the wall? But specifically, why didn't you fix Obamacare," Johnson said. "The problem we had -- and this wasn't the leader's fault -- we had Republican senators who didn't honor their promise to repeal it."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604184

Reported Deaths: 7620
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1248631774
Ramsey52480895
Dakota46804470
Anoka42746458
Washington27416291
Stearns22552224
St. Louis18137312
Scott17548135
Wright16370149
Olmsted13391102
Sherburne1201295
Carver1066448
Clay825892
Rice8196110
Blue Earth762543
Crow Wing681594
Kandiyohi667885
Chisago619752
Otter Tail585884
Benton582998
Goodhue483874
Douglas475381
Mower470733
Winona461251
Itasca459263
Isanti439964
McLeod430361
Morrison424662
Nobles407950
Beltrami407561
Steele397616
Polk389072
Becker386655
Lyon363853
Carlton352756
Freeborn346932
Pine335023
Nicollet331045
Mille Lacs311654
Brown307840
Le Sueur297226
Cass286032
Todd285632
Meeker263142
Waseca238023
Martin235332
Roseau211021
Wabasha20783
Hubbard196441
Dodge18783
Renville182446
Redwood176338
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena162823
Fillmore157410
Faribault154419
Chippewa153938
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138837
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122612
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11296
Murray107010
Swift106918
Koochiching95217
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Wilkin83213
Lake83120
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5938
Lincoln5843
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48293
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 370914

Reported Deaths: 6048
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58232640
Linn21204339
Scott20306247
Black Hawk16119312
Woodbury15238230
Johnson1461585
Dubuque13506211
Dallas1128999
Pottawattamie11223174
Story1071448
Warren583991
Clinton561493
Cerro Gordo553593
Sioux517074
Webster515494
Muscatine4880106
Marshall486676
Des Moines467271
Wapello4337122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth402981
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300957
Henry294637
Bremer288261
Carroll286852
Crawford268540
Boone268434
Benton259655
Washington256751
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232351
Jackson225242
Clay216627
Kossuth216166
Tama211871
Delaware210943
Winneshiek198535
Page194522
Buchanan193733
Cedar192223
Hardin187444
Fayette186543
Wright185940
Hamilton181851
Harrison179973
Clayton171057
Butler166235
Madison164619
Mills163724
Floyd163342
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152652
Hancock150234
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133435
Shelby131537
Sac130920
Union129935
Louisa129749
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124717
Franklin123323
Guthrie123232
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113523
Howard104922
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96532
Monroe96330
Unassigned9560
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7598
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Van Buren56418
Ringgold56324
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Adams3444
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