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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Trump takes two punches from GOP MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerAn August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Schumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE won in 2016 and one Republican, Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerDemocrat Jacky Rosen becomes 22nd senator to back bipartisan infrastructure deal 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 On The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare MORE, has a tough race in Nevada, a state that went for Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote 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 ManafortLobbyist Tony Podesta returns to work for Huawei Former bank CEO convicted of bribery in scheme to land Trump admin job Trial begins for Chicago banker who exchanged loans with Manafort for Trump job MORE.

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGiuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri McCaskill shares new July 4 family tradition: Watching Capitol riot video Joe Manchin's secret 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 ManchinJoe ManchinDemocrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done 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.”