Reid calls McCain out for skipping votes

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMurkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump Cortez Masto says she's not interested in being Biden VP Nevada congressman admits to affair after relationship divulged on podcast MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday questioned Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainKelly holds double-digit lead over McSally in Arizona: poll Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight How Obama just endorsed Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) for not scheduling time away from his presidential campaign to participate in Senate votes.

With 56 days left until Election Day, Reid used an afternoon press conference to note that McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, is not planning to attend the Senate’s debate this week on the Department of Defense policy bill.

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Sen. McCain is the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over the defense authorization bill. But Reid questioned McCain for likely missing other legislative business on energy and housing later this month.

Reid did not raise the likely absence of Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's 12:30 Report: NYT publishes controversial Tom Cotton op-ed The millions of young people forgotten amid pandemic response Poll: Biden leads Trump, Cunningham neck and neck with Tillis in North Carolina MORE (Ill.), the Democratic presidential candidate, or Sen. Joe BidenJoe BidenOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Murkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump| Esper orders hundreds of active-duty troops outside DC sent home day after reversal | Iran releases US Navy veteran Michael White Davis: 72 hours cementing the real choice for November OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan MORE (D-Del.), Obama’s running mate, from votes.

"Right now the apparent head of the Republican Party is John McCain. John McCain is a member of the United States Senate. He's been absent as to his person and his leadership in the Senate," Reid said. "Does anyone ever hear Sen. McCain offer an opinion on what should be done? Where is he on the defense authorization bill? Not a word have we heard from this so-called leader of the Republican Party.”

Reid also expanded his attack to criticize McCain for his absence on the chamber's energy and housing debates.

"John McCain talks about changing Washington, which is good for him, but he's done nothing to change what's happened to this country over the last eight years," Reid said.

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds would not comment.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump vows to campaign against Murkowski after senator's criticism Senate advances conservation fund bill, House introduces companion Paul clashes with Booker, Harris over anti-lynching bill MORE (R-Ky.), however, defended McCain for downplaying his Senate record, noting that under Democratic control, the current Congress has chosen to avoid the spirit of bipartisanship that allowed President Ronald Reagan and former House Speaker Thomas "Tip" O'Neill to work together on Social Security legislation in the 1980s and President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDavis: 72 hours cementing the real choice for November Top Democratic pollster advised Biden campaign to pick Warren as VP How Obama just endorsed Trump MORE and congressional Republicans to work together on welfare reform in the 1990s.

"I think Sen. McCain ought to run against this Congress. This has been one of the least-accomplished Congresses in modern times," McConnell said. "The majority in the Senate and the majority in the House have basically thumbed their nose at the minority. There's been a complete lack of compromise. … Divided government has not always been so incompetent."