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GOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump at CPAC foments 2022 GOP primary wars Hawley gets boisterous ovation at CPAC for Electoral College objection   Why Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment now MORE (R-Ky.) scolded Senate Republican colleagues on Thursday for skipping a Wednesday night vote, warning them that attendance needs to improve if anything is to get done in August, according to sources.

Congress usually takes the month of August off to meet with constituents around the country during what is known as a state work period. 

But facing pressure from President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE, McConnell canceled this year’s August recess — to the chagrin of many of his colleagues. 

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McConnell warned fellow Republican senators at a private lunch meeting Thursday that he would have trouble moving legislation next week if the attendance remains as abysmal as it was this week. 

He explained they were able to move business on the Senate floor yesterday and today only because they had locked in procedural agreements with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) in advance. 

Ten senators, almost all Republicans, missed two votes on Thursday.

That could be a big problem next week when McConnell tries to set up additional votes.

Eleven senators, again mostly Republicans, missed a vote that was scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon.

“He’s rightfully, I think, upset. I wasn’t at lunch but I knew what he was going to say,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGraham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director Senate GOP works to avoid having '22 war with Trump MORE (S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

Eight Republican senators, including Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain planning 'intimate memoir' of life with John McCain Trump-McConnell rift divides GOP donors Arkansas state senator says he's leaving Republican Party MORE (R-Ariz.), who is at home indefinitely battling cancer, missed Thursday’s votes, effectively giving Democrats a majority in the chamber.

Only two Democrats, Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinPartisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Murkowski undecided on Tanden as nomination in limbo Democrats ask FBI for plans to address domestic extremism following Capitol attack MORE (Ill.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: 50 million coronavirus vaccines given | Pfizer news | Biden health nominees Rand Paul criticized for questioning of transgender health nominee Biden health nominee faces first Senate test MORE (Wash.), missed the votes.

One Republican who attended Thursday’s lunch said the senators who were absent, not the ones who heard McConnell’s stern speech, need to be chastised.

“He was preaching to the choir,” the lawmaker said.

Another GOP senator said that most of his colleagues agreed about the importance of showing up for working during a time that is usually reserved for the August recess but some complained about it.

“He said, ‘You got to show up,’ ” said the source, who added a couple of colleagues who have had to make long flights back to Washington said the unusual August session is a personal “hardship” for them.

Two Republican senators who didn't make it to Washington this week — Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general GOP senators demand probe into Cuomo's handling of nursing home deaths CNN anchor confronts GOP chairman over senator's vote to convict Trump MORE (N.C.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Key vote for Haaland's confirmation | Update on oil and gas leasing | SEC update on climate-related risk disclosure requirements Haaland on drilling lease moratorium: 'It's not going to be a permanent thing' Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (Utah) — signed a letter to McConnell in May urging him to cancel the August recess.

That raised the eyebrows of fellow Republicans who trekked to the nation’s Capitol amid sweltering heat and humidity.

A spokesman for Lee said his boss “will be in D.C. to vote on appropriations bills next week.”

Democrats mocked Republicans for making a big deal about canceling the August recess and then not showing up for votes.

“Feels a little bit like something that was done for optics rather than for substance. This is called political posturing — I recognize it. I’m in the middle of a campaign,” said Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Memo: Punish Trump or risk a repeat, warn Democrats GOP senators criticized for appearing to pay half-hearted attention to trial Hawley watches trial from visitor's gallery MORE (D-Mo.).

Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzMinimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster Little known Senate referee to play major role on Biden relief plan Bipartisan group of lawmakers proposes bill to lift rule putting major financial burden on USPS MORE (D-Hawaii) said, “I’m always happy to do the work, but this is a little goofy.” 

Updated at 4:03 p.m.