Senate to delay recess

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday that the Senate will delay the August recess as senators scramble to catch up with a GOP agenda that is months behind schedule. 

“In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August,” McConnell said. 

{mosads}Senators had been scheduled to leave town at the end of July and not return to Washington until early September. 

With the change, the Senate will now work the first two weeks in August, with the break starting on Aug. 14.

The decision by McConnell could give the Senate more time to work on its legislation repealing and replacing ObamaCare. McConnell hopes to have a vote next week, but it does not appear he has the votes necessary to win approval. 

McConnell indicated that lawmakers will use the extra time to pass an annual defense policy bill and “the backlog of critical nominations that have been mindlessly stalled by Democrats.”

Trump has repeatedly knocked Democrats for holding up his nominees. They can’t block the picks on their own but are able to use the Senate’s rulebook to drag out debate. 

Deadlines for Congress to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government are also quickly approaching.

The government will shut down Oct. 1 without a new funding bill, and the nation’s borrowing limit needs to be raised by the end of September or early October to prevent a possible default by the U.S. government. 

A number of Republican senators have been pushing for McConnell to either truncate or cancel the recess. 

A half-dozen GOP senators held a news conference Tuesday to highlight the need to cut into the recess.

“We are glad leadership took our concerns into consideration. It is time to get results for the American people,” a broader list of 10 GOP senators said in a statement about the delayed recess.

But the decision appears to be a quick reversal from GOP leadership, who had signaled no interest in curbing the break. 

“I’m for getting our work done now. I don’t think stringing it out any longer than next week helps us with the product,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, told reporters Monday about the healthcare bill

Republicans in Congress also face political pressure. 

They have yet to score a major legislative victory since taking over the White House, though the House did approve its version of an ObamaCare repeal. 

GOP leaders said the real timetable for evaluating their action would not be President Trump’s first 100 days in office, but by day 200, which will come in early August. 

Updated: 2:42 p.m.

Tags John Cornyn Mitch McConnell

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