Senate

Senate leaders in talks to wrap up August session

Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (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.

{mosads}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 Trump won in 2016 and one Republican, Sen. Dean Heller, has a tough race in Nevada, a state that went for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

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 Manafort.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (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 Manchin (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.”

Tags Charles Schumer Claire McCaskill Dean Heller Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Joe Manchin Mitch McConnell Paul Manafort

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