Speed Reads

summer bummer

Mitch McConnell cancels Senate's August recess, draining 2018 campaign time

Senate's in for the summer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday called off the upper chamber's August recess, forcing lawmakers to stay in Washington to pass appropriations bills and work through President Trump's nominees.

McConnell blamed Democrats' "historic obstruction" for the canceled vacation, saying they've forced 100 cloture votes on Trump nominees, as opposed to 20 clotures over the last six presidents combined. Cloture votes are a way to end filibusters, but they still slow the confirmation process to a crawl by automatically adding days of debate before a nominee can be confirmed.

Republicans similarly obstructed Obama nominees via the filibuster in 2013, per The New York Times. That's when Democrats invoked the "nuclear option" on presidential nominees, bringing the number of votes to invoke cloture from 60 to 51. Republicans extended that precedent to Supreme Court nominees last April to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch with 54 votes.

As a result, McConnell is limiting August recess to one week, taking a chunk of campaign time from senators up for re-election this fall. The decision could hurt 10 Democratic incumbents from states that voted for Trump, and one Republican in a state that went for Hillary Clinton, says The Washington Post.