GOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw 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 TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE, McConnell canceled this year’s August recess — to the chagrin of many of his colleagues. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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 SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation 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 ThuneGoogle says it continues to allow apps to access Gmail user data Fight looms over national privacy law Want to improve health care? Get Americans off of their couches MORE (S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

Eight Republican senators, including Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCongress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard The Hill's Morning Report — Ford, Kavanaugh to testify Thursday as another accuser comes forward Trump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote 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 DurbinAmnesty International calls to halt Kavanaugh nomination Fox's Chris Wallace: All 10 Democratic Senate Judiciary members again declined interview invitations Durbin: ‘No reason’ for people to remember Kavanaugh at party accuser describes MORE (Ill.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: GOP plays defense over pre-existing conditions | Groups furious over new Trump immigration proposal | Public health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Malnutrition Awareness Week spotlights the importance of national nutrition programs Senate Dem: Republicans have 'predetermined' outcome of Kavanaugh hearing 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 TillisTrump assures storm victims in Carolinas: 'We will be there 100 percent' North Carolina governor: We saw ‘significant damage’ in eastern part of state GOP senator on allegation against Kavanaugh: 'Why on Earth' wasn't it discussed earlier? MORE (N.C.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThis week: Kavanaugh nomination thrown into further chaos Ex-college classmate accuses Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week 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 McCaskillDisclosures suggest rebates and insurers responsible for rising out-of-pocket drug costs Midterm polling data favors Democrats — in moderation Nelson campaign to donate K from Al Franken group to charity MORE (D-Mo.).

Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOvernight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Warren wants companies to disclose more about climate change impacts Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana MORE (D-Hawaii) said, “I’m always happy to do the work, but this is a little goofy.” 

Updated at 4:03 p.m.