GOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTSA agents protest government shutdown at Pittsburgh airport The case for Russia sanctions Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation 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 TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' 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 SchumerTrump blasts Pelosi for wanting to leave country during shutdown The Senate should host the State of the Union Dem senators debate whether to retweet Cardi B video criticizing Trump over shutdown 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 ThuneLeaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions Mnuchin meets with Senate GOP to shore up ranks on Russia sanctions vote MORE (S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

Eight Republican senators, including Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO Mark Kelly considering Senate bid as Arizona Dems circle McSally 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 DurbinSchumer wants answers from Trump on eminent domain at border Trump AG pick: I won't be 'bullied' by anyone, including the president Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing MORE (Ill.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySen. Murray says Washington behavior reminds her of former preschool students Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal 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 TillisCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter GOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight MORE (N.C.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Trump AG pick signals new scrutiny on tech giants | Wireless providers in new privacy storm | SEC brings charges in agency hack | Facebook to invest 0M in local news AG pick Barr wants closer scrutiny of Silicon Valley 'behemoths' Grassroots political participation is under attack in Utah and GOP is fighting back 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 Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump AG pick Barr grilled at hearing | Judge rules against census citizenship question | McConnell blocks second House bill to reopen government Ex-Sen. McCaskill joins NBC, MSNBC Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE (D-Mo.).

Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDem senators debate whether to retweet Cardi B video criticizing Trump over shutdown Cardi B expresses solidarity with federal workers not getting paid Action on climate and energy: Beyond partisan talking points MORE (D-Hawaii) said, “I’m always happy to do the work, but this is a little goofy.” 

Updated at 4:03 p.m.