Senate leaders in talks to wrap up August session

Senate leaders in talks to wrap up August session
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDoug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week GOP, Kavanaugh accuser struggle to reach deal MORE (R-Ky.) and 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.) are in talks to move a package of judicial and executive nominees Thursday so vulnerable colleagues can go home and campaign next week.

Several Republican senators say that McConnell has told them he’s trying to move a nominations package Thursday so that lawmakers don’t have to come back next week.

McConnell has advised colleagues that opioids legislation is likely to come to the Senate floor the week after Labor Day.

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A senior Democratic aide said leaders are “discussing” a possible deal on nominees but indicated the conversation is in the preliminary stage at this point.

A second Democratic source familiar with the talks said whether there’s a deal will depend on the composition of the package of nominees.

“It all depends on the list. There are 12 judges and five [executive branch] appointees that they want to do and so the question is who are the 12 judges,” said the source.

McConnell filed motions to end debate on those 17 nominees on Wednesday.

He told colleagues that the Senate will stay in session until they are all confirmed.

“No more obstruction, no more delays. It’s time to confirm them all,” McConnell said on the floor Thursday morning. “The Senate will continue to work right through August until every single one of them is confirmed.”

After a week and a half of a rare August session, lawmakers are eager to get out of Washington ahead of Labor Day.

Ten Democratic senators are running for reelection this fall in states President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE won in 2016 and one Republican, Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerHeller embraces Trump in risky attempt to survive in November McConnell suggests he could hold Senate in session through October The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re prepared to testify MORE, has a tough race in Nevada, a state that went for Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPompeo: 'We've not been successful' in changing US-Russia relations Michael Moore ties Obama to Trump's win in Michigan in 2016 The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? MORE.

Five of them are running in states that Trump won by double digits.

Democrats facing tough races in states that Trump won by large margins would like to get back home to campaign, but other Democrats want to stay in Washington to take advantage of the national press attention swirling around Trump’s legal troubles, according to a Democratic senator and a Democratic aide.

Meanwhile, Republicans are getting tired of the nonstop barrage of media questions about Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDem warns Trump: 'Obstruction of justice' to fire Rosenstein Ex-White House official revises statement to Mueller after Flynn guilty plea: report Former White House lawyer sought to pay Manafort, Gates legal fees: report MORE.

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillNelson campaign to donate K from Al Franken group to charity 'Kavanaugh' chants erupt at Trump rally in Missouri The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re prepared to testify MORE (D-Mo.), who is up for reelection in a state Trump won by 19 points, said she’s ready to stay in Washington for another week of August session but acknowledged she has plenty of work to do back home, too.

“If I’m going to be home, I’ll be working. If I’m here, I’ll be working. So either way, I’ll be working,” she said. 

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDoug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh Cook Political Report moves Texas Senate race to ‘toss-up’ The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh MORE (D-W.Va.), who faces reelection in a state that Trump won by 42 points, said Democrats should agree to the package instead of spending another week in Washington fighting over nominees who are going to pass anyway.

“These judges came out of the Judiciary Committee with Democrats and Republicans both signing off and endorsing them,” he said.

He said he “absolutely” thinks the package should move instead of dragging it out another week so both parties can “yell at each other.”