GOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Senate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime 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 John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US 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 ThuneTrump angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report White House abruptly cancels Trump meeting with GOP leaders McConnell says Trump is not a racist, but calls for better rhetoric MORE (S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

Eight Republican senators, including Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain promotes July 17 as #GBMday to raise awareness of father's cancer The peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Lindsey Graham: 'Graham wants to bring back 1950s McCarthyism' 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 DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations Senate approves long-delayed tax treaties in win for business MORE (Ill.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayTrump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders mounts staunch defense of 'Medicare for All' | Biden, Sanders fight over health care heats up | House votes to repeal ObamaCare 'Cadillac Tax' | Dems want details on fetal tissue research ban Democrats demand information from White House about fetal tissue research ban 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 TillisRepublicans scramble to contain Trump fallout McConnell says Trump is not a racist, but calls for better rhetoric GOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist MORE (N.C.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeFirst responder calls senators blocking 9/11 victim funding 'a--holes' Jon Stewart rips into Rand Paul after he blocks 9/11 victim compensation fund: 'An abomination' Senate approves long-delayed tax treaties in win for business 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 McCaskillTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Feds allow campaigns to accept discounted cybersecurity services GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE (D-Mo.).

Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzWarren introduces bill targeted at food insecurity on college campuses On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency at hearing MORE (D-Hawaii) said, “I’m always happy to do the work, but this is a little goofy.” 

Updated at 4:03 p.m.