Senate passes bill to make lynching a federal crime
Senate cuts work week short after nominations deal
Senators wrapped up their work week early after they got a deal on dozens of Trump nominations.
The Senate agreed to leave town on Tuesday night after they confirmed more than 30 of President Trump's picks, including 27 executive branch nominees and seven judicial nominations.
Senators won't formally return to Washington until next Tuesday, Sept. 4.
GOP leadership had threatened to keep the Senate in session for as long as it took this week to confirm another slate of Trump's nominees, after they left town last week unable to get a deal.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated after a closed-door caucus lunch that he was in talks with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to clear a tranche of Trump nominees.
"Sen. Schumer and I are also talking about a package related to the offer that I made him at the end of last week with regard to processing 15 district judges and several members of the administration," McConnell told reporters.
In addition to the 34 confirmed on Tuesday, Republicans say they have an agreement with Democrats to take up an additional eight judicial nominations when they return to Washington next week.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), asked how they got the deal with Democrats, noted that the list of nominations were picked because they "had strong, bipartisan support."
"I think [Democrats] realized it was going to happen sooner or later and they could do it the hard way or the easy way," he said.
The agreement got backlash from some activists, who argued that Democrats were making it easier for Trump to make lifetime appointments.
"This comes down to leadership. Senate Dem leaders could take a stand and station one senator on the floor at all times to object, forcing McConnell to jump through interminable hurdles & produce 51 votes - twice - for each nominee, likely resulting in fewer lifetime Trump judges," Adam Jentleson, who worked for former Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said in a tweet after the votes were announced.
But the push to get a deal also comes as memorials for GOP Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) are expected to start in Arizona on Wednesday before moving to D.C. later in the week.
Clearing the Senate's deck of nominations could allow lawmakers to travel to Arizona without worrying about missing votes and hearings in D.C.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) during a floor speech memorializing McCain on Tuesday noted that "many of us" were leaving to go to Arizona within a few hours.