McConnell cancels Senate's month-long August recess

McConnell announced Tuesday that the August recess will be just one week.

June 5, 2018, 2:47 PM
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, speaks during a media availability after a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill, May 8, 2018, in Washington.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, speaks during a media availability after a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill, May 8, 2018, in Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that the month-long August recess is canceled.

In a statement, McConnell put the blame squarely on the Democrats' shoulders for their "historic obstruction."

“Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled," McConnell said.

"Senators should expect to remain in session in August to pass legislation, including appropriations bills, and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees," he said.

According to a press release from McConnell's office, it's expected that senators will have just one week off during the first week of August before returning to Washington for the rest of the month.

The Senate usually takes a four-week recess in the summer to vacation, spend time with family, but also to meet with constituents back in their home states.

The news is sure to be a blow to the 10 vulnerable Senate Democrats who are up for re-election this November because it means they will have less time to campaign.

During a press conference Tuesday, McConnell doubled down on his announcement and said even if Democrats decided to cooperate more in the coming weeks, everyone should expect to be in town this August.

"I'm all for cooperation, but when you look at the amount of work that we have to do, it's inconceivable to me that we can't use these weeks..." McConnell told reporters.

"I think we have enough work to do for the American people that we should be here during these weeks. I hope we get greater cooperation, but everybody should anticipate that we will be here as I announced today," he went on.

For a while now, a group of GOP senators had been advocating for the cancellation of the recess because they'd rather stay in town to pass spending bills and confirm more of Trump's nominees.

Sixteen GOP senators sent a letter to McConnell last month urging him to cancel the recess. One of those senators, David Perdue of Georgia, said in a statement today that he's please recess is canceled, but they could always work more.

"It is important to remember that simply canceling the August state work period is not the goal. We should be working nights and weekends now to get the results the American people sent us here to deliver," he said in a statement.

Last month, McConnell warned his colleagues that they shouldn't buy any non-refundable plane tickets. He also shortened last year's recess by about two weeks citing similar reasons.

Trump is on board with the cancellation of August recess, too.

The president has previously hinted he’d be willing to force a government shutdown when funding runs out in September if Congress doesn’t fully fund the border wall. Government funding runs out on September 30th.

Last month he put pressure on the Senate, tweeting:

"The Senate should get funding done before the August break, or NOT GO HOME. Wall and Border Security should be included. Also waiting for approval of almost 300 nominations, worst in history. Democrats are doing everything possible to obstruct, all they know how to do. STAY!"

It's unclear at this point if the House will follow suit.