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 McConnellHow Cruz Supreme Court case could lead to unlimited anonymous election spending Trump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections The Armageddon elections to come MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVoting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans 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 TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE won in 2016 and one Republican, Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerSeven most vulnerable governors facing reelection in 2022 Nevada becomes early Senate battleground Nevada governor Sisolak injured in car accident, released from hospital MORE, has a tough race in Nevada, a state that went for Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Armageddon elections to come Poll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second The politics of 'mind control' 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 ManafortUS sanctions four Ukrainians for aiding Russian influence operations Manafort book set for August publication Accused spy's lawyers say plans to leave country were over Trump, not arrest MORE.

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillBiden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid Harry Reid, political pugilist and longtime Senate majority leader, dies On The Trail: Trump-inspired challengers target GOP governors 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 ManchinBiden to meet with CEOs to discuss Build Back Better agenda Hoyer says 'significant' version of Build Back Better will pass this year Gallego went to New York to meet Sinema donors amid talk of primary challenge: report 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.”