Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell backs Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats insist budget consensus close as talks drag on Manchin backs raising debt ceiling with reconciliation if GOP balks 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 TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly MORE, McConnell canceled this year’s August recess — to the chagrin of many of his colleagues.
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 Schumer535 'presidents' with veto power: Why budget deal remains elusive The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats insist budget consensus close as talks drag on Pricing methane and carbon emissions will help US meet the climate moment 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 ThuneMcConnell backs Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race Thune endorses Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race Democratic frustration with Sinema rises MORE (S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
Eight Republican senators, including Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain blasts Graham for refuting funeral remark about Kushner, Ivanka Trump Flake, Cindy McCain among latest Biden ambassadors confirmed after delay Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' 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 DurbinPatience wears thin as Democrats miss deadlines 535 'presidents' with veto power: Why budget deal remains elusive After 35 years, Congress should finally end the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine MORE (Ill.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats try to back Manchin off killing paid family leave proposal Democrats cutting paid leave from spending deal amid Manchin opposition Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending 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 TillisTrick-or-dog-treat: Lawmakers hold annual Halloween puppy party After 35 years, Congress should finally end the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair MORE (N.C.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeTikTok, Snapchat seek to distance themselves from Facebook Cawthorn, Lee introduce bills banning interstate travel vaccine mandate Retreating economy creates new hurdle for Democrats in 2022 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 McCaskillEx-Rep. Akin dies at 74 Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect MORE (D-Mo.).
Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzClimate advocates turn sights on Wall Street To sustain humanity COP26 must lead on both climate and biodiversity Democrats struggle to sell Biden plan amid feuding MORE (D-Hawaii) said, “I’m always happy to do the work, but this is a little goofy.”
Updated at 4:03 p.m.